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BBC iPlayer has blocked UK VPN servers over piracy concerns

bbcThe BBC is taking measures against the unauthorised use of its iPlayer service by actively blocking UK VPN services. The measures aim to prevent foreigner based users from accessing iPlayer without permission, but they're also blocking many legitimate UK citizens from surfing the Internet securely.

The BBC’s online catchup service iPlayer has been a great success, both in the UK and abroad.

While the service is intended for UK viewers, who have to pay a mandatory TV license, it’s also commonly used overseas. Recent research suggests that 60 million people outside the UK access iPlayer through VPNs and other circumvention tools.

However, over the past several days TF has received several reports from VPN users who can no longer access iPlayer from UK-based VPN servers.

“BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only,” is the notice they receive instead with a further field adding

"Because of rights agreements you can only download or stream BBC iPlayer TV programmes while you’re inside the UK.
What you can do outside the UK. You can listen to most radio programmes outside the UK. You can also download and listen to BBC podcasts outside the UK. However, some things like sports programmes may be unavailable due to rights agreements. Highlights from many BBC News programmes are also available outside the UK, as are BBC Sport videos."

This effectively stops foreigners and expats from accessing the service, but it also affects license paying UK citizens who use a VPN to browse the Internet securely. They will now have to disconnect their VPN if they want to access iPlayer.

The BBC says that the VPN ban was implemented to keep iPlayer ‘pirates’ at bay. The company is doing its best to keep company and school VPNs open but advises regular users to connect their VPN service in advance if they want to access iPlayer.

“We regularly make updates to our technology to help prevent access to BBC iPlayer from outside the UK which breaks our terms of use,” a BBC spokesperson tells us.

“BBC iPlayer is freely available to users across the UK without a VPN, and we also seek to ensure users of private VPNs such as those used by schools and companies in the UK have access.”

The BBC admits that this may affect privacy conscious UK license payers as well, but says it doesn’t have the ability to discriminate between legal and unauthorized VPN users.

Several VPN users are not happy with the change and have voiced their complaints. The issue is also causing concern among VPN providers, which are looking for options to circumvent the blockade.

IPVanish has applied a ‘fix’ which has solved the problem for now. Similarly, TorGuard offers customers a new UK IP-address upon request, which helps, at least temporarily.

“Let the game of whack-an-IP begin,” TorGuard’s Ben van der Pelt commented to the website Torrentfreak.com.

TorGuard is hugely disappointed with BBC’s broad blockade, and the fact that the broadcaster is willingly throwing many legitimate consumers under the bus.

“It amazes me that an increasing number of streaming services are willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of legitimate members over VPN usage. One can only assume this will hurt BBC iPlayer subscriber numbers as most people will simply look elsewhere,” Van der Pelt says.

In part the VPN blockade is being implemented to appease foreign broadcasters who buy programming from the BBC. If this content is easily available online foreign TV companies may lose part of their audience.

Earlier this year the BBC shut down its international version of iPlayer. This allowed people from oversees to access it for a small fee, but also caused concern among local rightsholders.

A BBC spokesperson informed Torrentabuse.com that the 60 million figure mentioned in the BBC article is not realistic.

“These figures simply aren’t plausible. All our evidence shows the vast majority of BBC iPlayer usage is in the UK. BBC iPlayer and the content on it is paid for by UK licence fee payers in the UK and we take appropriate steps to protect access to this content.”

© torrentfreak.com 2015

 

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Comments  

+1 #10 james houston 2016-02-22 11:54
Although it is a good decision but on the other end it is not the right decision specially for those uk citizens who have to travel out side the uk due to their official working, I think there should be some way to get in touch with over own content from all over the world, however in this page....
http://www.vpnranks.com/5-best-vpns-for-uk/
there are still some vpns provider, who are still offering there services for the people like me.
0 #9 Micheal Justin 2015-10-20 12:21
Yes there are many UK VPN service that have servers in UK and other countries and have great protocols that help to encrypt data so its not easy for BBC to block all VPNs and their UK Servers. PureVPN is best option http://www.bestvpnprovider.com/purevpn-review/
+4 #8 steve hubbard 2015-10-18 18:40
Why on earth when you are on holiday would you want to catch up on east enders or some thing else.Get a life and get out instead.
+3 #7 Kid A 2015-10-18 16:41
Quoting Tony Meredith:
I pay my tv licence in the uk so when I'm on holiday why can't I watch the BBC?
Now they block it can I have a refund on my licence when I'm away from home as it can be up to 12 weeks away!


In answer to your first question, I think it's because a UK TV licence is for use in the UK - no use any where else. The answer to your second question is no.
+9 #6 David Cameron 2015-10-18 12:59
Quoting Chip the Duck:
"BBC iPlayer and the content on it is paid for by UK licence fee payers in the UK and we take appropriate steps to protect access to this content."

The steps are anything but appropriate. Appropriate would mean that those who pay receive BBC TV. Not those who happen to be in the country can watch regardless.


Oh dear. You seem to have missed the bit that says "in the UK".

Why are people finding this so difficult to understand? Pay your licence in the UK - watch the BBC in the UK.

Perhaps those who want something for nothing could simply watch Portuguese TV, in Portugal.

You'll be wanting your UK winter fuel payment in the Algarve next ...
-7 #5 Chip the Duck 2015-10-17 22:00
"BBC iPlayer and the content on it is paid for by UK licence fee payers in the UK and we take appropriate steps to protect access to this content."

The steps are anything but appropriate. Appropriate would mean that those who pay receive BBC TV. Not those who happen to be in the country can watch regardless.
+11 #4 David Cameron 2015-10-17 16:14
Quoting Ric:
The BBC is neither as modern nor as intelligent as the people it is supposed to serve.
Netflix, Sky Plus and others turn a blind eye to country codes and benefit nicely from it. Win, win.
Even the EU can see such boundaries serve no purpose.
However the BBC is a self-serving parasite whose main purpose is internal aggrandisement. Fortunately it's days are numbered.


Welcome aboard! The government needs rabid right wingers like yourself to help us destroy the BBC!
+10 #3 Edna Bucket 2015-10-17 16:07
Quoting Ric:
The BBC is neither as modern nor as intelligent as the people it is supposed to serve.
Netflix, Sky Plus and others turn a blind eye to country codes and benefit nicely from it. Win, win.
Even the EU can see such boundaries serve no purpose.
However the BBC is a self-serving parasite whose main purpose is internal aggrandisement. Fortunately it's days are numbered.

Eh? Isn't the "self-serving parasite" the one who pays no UK TV licence, but who expects to consume the BBC's output freely (and for free) while living in, say, Portugal?
-17 #2 Ric 2015-10-16 16:44
The BBC is neither as modern nor as intelligent as the people it is supposed to serve.
Netflix, Sky Plus and others turn a blind eye to country codes and benefit nicely from it. Win, win.
Even the EU can see such boundaries serve no purpose.
However the BBC is a self-serving parasite whose main purpose is internal aggrandisement. Fortunately it's days are numbered.
+2 #1 Tony Meredith 2015-10-16 13:39
I pay my tv licence in the uk so when I'm on holiday why can't I watch the BBC?
Now they block it can I have a refund on my licence when I'm away from home as it can be up to 12 weeks away!

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