For years, Netflix and its users seemed to have an understanding.
Users from all corners of the globe were happy to pay for the service, but they were going to use proxies and VPNs to gain access to the content that was blocked in their countries. Netflix and (especially) its partners were never happy with this arrangement, but there wasn’t much of a serious effort to combat the issue.
That changed earlier this year, and Netflix users are no longer happy.
Wired notes in a recent piece that an online petition from Open Media telling Netflix to “stand up to Big Media bullies” has already received nearly 38,000 signatures. Additionally, despite Netflix CEO Reed Hastings telling investors that the VPN blocks wouldn’t affect subscriber numbers, surveys show that users may resort to piracy more frequently if they can’t access the content through legitimate means.
“A massive number of people are affected,” Jordan Fried, CEO of Buffered VPN, told Wired. “We are in touch with hundreds of people daily about the VPN block. Many of our users are coming to us from other VPN providers who no longer work.”
Some of those people got in touch with Wired to discuss the bans, sharing stories that will likely sound familiar to thousands of other Netflix subscribers experiencing similar issues. But the real issue for most users outside of the United States is that they are paying the same price for significantly less content.
“I’m using a VPN because I feel I should get access to the same catalog as the US customers, or any other country’s user,” said one subscriber from Portugal. “We pay the same amount and yet we get a fraction of the content available elsewhere. Money is not the issue. It’s unfair. That’s my issue with it.”