Want to browse the biggest Netflix offer in the US, or try a service like HBO Max when not available in the Netherlands? You may have already seen the ad for VPN, which allows you to view overseas streaming services. But is it really allowed?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In other words, your own, virtual and well-protected Internet connection. A VPN service hides your IP address, a kind of zip code that identifies any device connected to the Internet.
A VPN makes you anonymous by sending your data traffic over a secure connection to a VPN server in another country. The new IP address will make your device look like it is located in that country. For example, this can be useful if you are working in a hotel on a public WiFi network. You ensure that your data cannot be tapped with encryption via VPN.
Also useful for pictures and series
But some ads promote their VPN servers to watch shows. With a server, for example, the United States, Brazil or India, you can view streaming services as if you were in that country. The amount of content varies considerably due to contracts with all types of local series and producers. So if you have already played Netflix in the Netherlands, you will still enjoy it in other countries. But is it legal?
“There are two types of illegality,” says IT lawyer Arnaud Engelfried. “For the first time, the police will come after you and fine you. It does not. “The use of VPN is not prohibited and you have not violated any law in the Netherlands.
‘You are violating a contract’
Engelfried says Netflix has every right to deny you a customer. “They can cancel the contract because subscription sales to you are based on a specific region, because copyright is granted regionally. For example, they promise to show only one in the United States to a specific manufacturer, so they get a cheaper rate than they show it around the world. If you get around it, Content provider may complain to Netflix. “I’m selling it to you in the US, now customers from the Netherlands are going to appear”.
Streaming services are increasingly occurring
Engelpreet expects the number of VPN users to watch the series to be relatively small, so Netflix has long since forgiven it. But lately they have been appearing more often. “People watch movies from any IP address and they can see in which country that address is located. If a Dutch subscriber looks away from the United States for a moment, suddenly from India, they know something is wrong. Then they have the right to deal with you. ”
Usually, however, individual customers are not affected. Netflix will block the IP addresses of their servers, especially after they provide VPN services. Most free VPN servers are now blocked by the streaming company, and only paid VPN options can avoid Netflix blockage.
So a VPN is not illegal from a legal point of view and it will not become illegal in the Netherlands at any time. According to Engelfried, it is widely used in all kinds of ordinary things, such as secure connections in the business sector. “Sometimes shady things are done with it, but you have to block the blades too, because sometimes something shady happens with them.” But you run the risk of your subscription being taken if the streaming service catches you or your VPN service is abruptly stopped.
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