Illegal downloading has been a problem for the entertainment industry for years. But as quick as one torrent website is shut down, another one pops up in its place. Netflix (and now other streaming services like Crave and Shomi) offers a solution between paying for traditional cable and illegal downloading. For less than $10 a month you can have access to hundreds of TV shows, movies, and even original programming you can’t get anywhere else. But it’s still not enough for a lot of Canadian subscribers.

Bell Media’s new president, Mary Ann Turcke wants Canadians to know that using a U.S-based VPN to mask your IP address and access U.S Netflix content is “stealing just like stealing anything else.” Turcke found out her own 15-year-old daughter was doing what thousands of other Canadians are doing— tricking Netflix into giving them more content for free.

There is a reason a lot of the U.S Netflix content isn’t available in Canada, and that’s copyright laws. Unfortunately, tapping into the U.S content is considered common place, as in everyone is doing it, just like downloading. No one really considers that they are actually breaking the law, and stealing from people who worked hard to produce those TV shows and movies.

According to Turcke, “it takes behavioural change and it is the people — friend to friend, parent to child, coworker to coworker — that set the cultural framework for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. It has to become socially unacceptable to admit that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix — like throwing garbage out your car window – you just don’t do it.”

Not only is it considered acceptable to use VPNs to get access to U.S Netflix, but there are how-to articles everywhere educating people on how to get around copyright laws. The practice is clearly against Netflix’s terms of use, and they have threatened to start cracking down. What does that means? We'll have to wait and see...