​Netflix says it isn't cracking down on overseas users

The streaming giant denies rumors that it's restricting usage of its service.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
2 min read

LAS VEGAS -- Netflix denied recent rumors it was banning users from accessing the US version of its service overseas.

Over the past week, some users said the streaming giant had begun to crack down on account holders who used technological tricks to access its service.

One popular way to do that is through a virtual private network, also called VPN, which directs Internet traffic through other parts of the world. In the case of Netflix, that means a user in Australia could use a VPN to use the US version of Netflix, which offers different shows than other regions.

Investors have pushed Netflix to begin restricting how people access its service. They point to customers who share accounts with friends and stream multiple movies at once.

Netflix does block some VPN providers who are named in contracts it signs with movie and television studios, said Neil Hunt, chief product officer for the company. But the company is also trying to ensure that the same videos are available to all its users around the globe.

For subscribers in other countries, licensing is still a problem.

In Australia, for example, users who want to stream the Netflix political thriller "House of Cards" can't get it from Netflix. "Foxtel, for example, owns House of Cards in Australia, so they kind of like us to block them," Hunt said. But these odd licensing relationships won't last forever. "

Increasingly we will be relying on original content that we own worldwide," he added. "Scenarios such as the case of Foxtel and House of Cards will become an historical footnote."