All About Geoblocking in the EU

Since 1 April 2018 you can access the Netflix media library EU-wide. We have all the information and tell you what you can do against geoblocking outside the EU.

Those who wanted to watch Netflix abroad so far had a surprise, because they could only access the media library of the respective country. Movies and series were no longer in German and there was no possibility to add a German subtitle. Responsible for this was the so-called geoblocking, which limited Netflix access to the country you were in. VPN software is often used to unblock this content.

These times have been over since April 1, 2018. The European Parliament passed a law in May 2017 that finally abolished geoblocking. From now on you can access the German Netflix media library in every country of the EU and stream all films and series without restrictions. “What is paid must also be allowed to be watched,” said SPD member of parliament Tiemo W├Âlken, explaining the verdict. In our other articles you can find the best series on Netflix and the new Netflix releases.

Repeal only with restrictions

In order to prevent abuse, however, the lifting of geoblocking is only ever valid for a limited period of time, such as holidays or business trips. Unfortunately, legislation has so far failed to define the length of this limited period. Is it two weeks? A month? It should have been a little more precise. Netflix writes on an info page: “In countries of the European Union, we offer you the same content as in your home country for a limited period of time. When this limited period is over, you will be notified by us. You will then be given access to the titles available in the country to which you have travelled. We will, of course, inform you of the time.

  1. In addition, the EU-wide lifting of geoblocking applies only in one direction: you can access the German Netflix media library from abroad, but not the contents of other countries from Germany.
  2. That this will one day be possible doesn’t seem so absurd. Karolina Wojtal, lawyer at the European Consumer Centre Germany, is of the opinion: “The next step must be to grant consumers access to offers that are only available in another Member State.
  3. At the moment, EU citizens are in many cases still limited to their own country.

What can you do outside the EU against geoblocking?

Outside the EU, the country block will remain in place. To avoid this, many users use VPN services like “ExpressVPN”, “NordVPN” or “VyprVPN” to make Netflix believe that the user is still in Germany. These tools have a free trial period before they cost between five and ten euros a month. However, by using these services you are in a legal grey area. In general jurisdiction, the use of a VPN tool to bypass a geo-block is not considered “bypassing an effective protective measure”. As long as, as with Netflix, it is only a stream and not a download, there is no legal copyright infringement.

However, bypassing the country block clearly violates Netflix‘s own terms and conditions, as the streaming service has its own license to its content in each country. If you are caught using a Netflix VPN tool, the company theoretically has the right to delete your account and lock you out. In practice, however, no such cases are known.

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