Hulu has reportedly chosen to block those users visiting the site via virtual private networks or VPNs.
Virtual Private Networks allow remote users to connect to a private network, which then connects to the Internet. VPNs are often used to circumvent region restrictions — giving foreign users access to content they wouldn't otherwise be able to view. (Via YouTube / CyberGhost)
Which is apparently why Hulu has a problem with it, reports TorrentFreak. "In an effort to deal with these unauthorized users, Hulu has started to block visitors who access the site through an IP-address that's linked to a VPN service."
According to the outlet, users accessing the site via VPN were served up this message, saying the service "is not currently available outside the U.S." (Via Hulu)
But here's the rub: VPN users within the U.S. are also being blocked from using the streaming service.
A writer for Digital Trends explains this is a problem, because some users access the web through VPNs for extra privacy and security online. The site spoke with VPN-provider Private Internet Access. Needless to say, it wasn't happy with Hulu's decision.
"Private Internet Access exists to protect the privacy of netizens everywhere. Many of our customers leave their Private Internet Access accounts enabled 24/7/365. It is unfortunate that Hulu is blocking VPN service IPs." (Via Digital Trends)
A writer for Geek.com says VPN providers are already looking at workarounds for the block. "Some providers, like TorGuard, believe that they'll be able to expand shared private IP access as a workaround." This would give users an individual IP, unable to be detected and blocked by Hulu.
Still, as a writer for TechHive points out, Hulu has to maintain licensing deals with content providers. Turning a blind eye to unauthorized access could be a sore spot between the streaming service and its content providers.
Hulu has yet to make a public announcement regarding the VPN block.