Most VPN users will pirate more content thanks to Netflix crackdown: survey

A person uses Netflix in Palo Alto, Calif in this July 20, 2010 file photo.
A person uses Netflix in Palo Alto, Calif in this July 20, 2010 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Paul Sakuma

As Netflix continues to crack down on users accessing its content through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxy services, a new survey reveals the crackdown will likely drive more VPN users to download content illegally.

The survey, conducted by Internet Security blog Secure Thoughts, asked 1,000 VPN users how the recent crackdown will affect their decision to use the popular video streaming service.

Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed said they will pirate more content thanks to Netflix’s decision to cut off service to those using VPN services.

Additionally, 61 per cent said the crackdown will factor into their decision to keep their Netflix memberships.

Netflix has been taking more aggressive action to block VPN providers since January, after announcing a crackdown on the practice in January.

Users around the world commonly use VPN services to stream Netflix movies and TV shows available in the United States and other countries to access a wider variety of content that isn’t available in their market. But this violates the company’s distribution deals with major studios and content providers, which are negotiated on a regional basis.

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In February, PayPal cut off payment services to Canadian VPN company UnoTelly, stating that the company’s services are against PayPal’s policies because they help users get around copyright restrictions.

READ MORE: PayPal cuts off service to Canadian VPN provider thanks to Netflix crackdown

This week, hundreds of European users – including those in Belgium, Germany and the U.K. – took to Reddit to say they lost access to their Netflix accounts after the streaming service blocked their VPN provider.

But many argue that the move is unfair to those who use VPN services as a means of privacy, or for work.

According to the survey, 66 per cent of VPN users said Netflix was not their primary reason for using a proxy service.

Interestingly, 68 per cent of those surveyed also said they would pay more for Netflix to gain access to its entire media library.

The U.S. version of Netflix is known to have more Hollywood blockbusters and recent seasons of popular network shows than its Canadian and international counterparts. Netflix’s vice-president of content delivery, David Fullagar, has promised that the company is making progress in licensing content across borders; however, it has offered no timelines on when that content might be made available.

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