In the coming weeks, Netflix plans to ensure that customers are only able to access the official library for the country they are currently in, not any overseas libraries they may attempt to access with technical tricks such as proxy servers and unblocking services.
While Netflix is now available in 190 countries globally, content licensing deals mean the TV shows and movies available differ by region. For example, many TV shows are available on the US version of Netflix that are shown exclusively on Foxtel in Australia. For years, paying customers have used VPNs, proxy servers and smart DNS services to trick their devices into thinking they are in a different country, thereby flitting between Netflix libraries as they please.
In a blog post, Netflix's vice president of content delivery architecture David Fullagar said that practice would soon be a thing of the past.
"To address [geo-dodging], we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it," Fullagar said.
"That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are".
Though not currently illegal, geo-dodging is against the terms of service of most streaming services, including Netflix. Speaking to Reuters, Gartner's Brian Blau said the company had a "responsibility to content owners to only show that content in the geographies for which they have a license".
In a December blog post that has since been taken down, then communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was not the government's intention to make geo-dodging illegal under changes to the Copyright Act.
Netflix's Fullagar said that, in time, customers' desire to jump into different Netflix regions would disappear.
"We are making progress in licensing content across the world [...] but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere. Over time, we anticipate being able to do so," he said.
"We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That's the goal we will keep pushing towards".
Fullagar gave no indication of the kind of technology Netflix would use to counteract geo-dodging, likely because to do so would speed up the inevitable process of geo-dodgers finding a new work-around.
Many geo-dodging services — such as Getflix, which offers a smart DNS service that allows users to appear in a different country for each of the services they use — charge a monthly subscription fee, meaning they'll have to find a way around any blocking measures Netflix puts in place if they wish to stay in business.
Netflix previously pledged to crack down on geo-dodging shortly before the launch of its Australian service in 2015, as many Australians had already signed up to and were accessing its US library.