Netflix VPN block
Netflix is implementing blocks to prevent people from using VPN services to bypass geolocation restrictionsCC

Netflix has reportedly taken action against users that use circumvention tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) to access region restricted content, however most blocks are likely to be ineffective.

Overseas users trying to access US Netflix through a VPN are being blocked by the online streaming service, according to TorrentFreak.

Netflix operates in around 50 countries worldwide but due to varying licensing arrangements different countries have different content libraries.

It was recently estimated that as many as 200,000 households in Australia alone use a VPN or similar proxy tools to access US Netflix, though it is not clear whether this legally constitutes piracy when the service is paid for.

"In relation to the use of VPNs by Australians to access services such as Hulu and Netflix, on the limited information provided there does not appear to be an infringement of copyright law in Australia," Attorney-General Robert McClelland said in 2011.

Netflix has denied any change to its VPN policy, however reiterated that VPNs violate their terms of service.

Problems for users attempting to access Netflix in overseas territories were first spotted by VPN provider TorGuard in mid-December.

"This is a brand new development," TorGuard's Ben Van der Pelt told TorrentFreak. "A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage.

"This is the very first time I've ever heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to a VPN user. I have a sneaking suspicion that Netflix may be testing these new IP blocking methods temporarily in certain markets.

If such restrictions continue, TorGuard has said that it will provide a simple workaround for users to bypass the blocks.