Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Piracy concerns? What about privacy? Why Hulu is Blocking Your Content

One of the largest obstacles preventing potential users from utilizing a VPN is the simple act of adding an additional step. Is it really worth rushing online at the expense of exposing your personal, private information? It certainly doesn’t help when companies like Hulu, popular in part for their user-friendliness, provide yet another reason to throw safety to the wind.

Recently Hulu started blocking VPN users out of what they call “piracy concerns.”  Streaming services like Hulu have capitalized on the market because of their extensive content and ability to make viewing easy and relatively painless.

VPN users who tried to stream video on Hulu
saw the above message when trying to stream content.

As TorrentFreak points out, services like Hulu have actually helped reduce piracy rates as users are given access to new content at a low subscription cost.  Now they block access to VPN users because of licensing concerns, citing foreigners misrepresenting their origin. However, where does this leave valid U.S. users who employ a VPN as part of their daily online routine?

Beyond this very straightforward argument lies another one that may have to be hashed amongst content providers and licensers. Shouldn’t valid account holders for services like Hulu be allowed access to streaming if they are traveling or temporarily residing abroad? Punishing frequent fliers doesn’t seem like a great business idea.

Until popular content is made more widely available, it seems the take away message to legitimate users is that you need to choose between online security and this week’s episode of Vampire Diaries. This half-baked decision will have real consequences for cyber-aware users and it’s important for providers like Hulu to realize what they’re doing.

This is another reason we need to #ResetTheNet: When haphazard decisions diminish our ability to live securely and privately online, it is to speak up and take action. SumRando is proud to stand behind the #ResetTheNet campaign to encourage responsible use of internet privacy and security tools among “everyday” internet users.

It is worth noting that a number of VPNs are working with Hulu to create a work-around that allows valid Hulu users to remain connected to our services while enjoying streaming media, but the matter remains unresolved at the moment.  Read more about the issue at TorrentFreak.


  1. Hulu only blocks IP addresses from known VPN providers. If you set up your own VPN server and connect to it, it should work with no problem. I just set up my own VPN following this guide: and it worked like a charm. You do need to know Linux well though.

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  3. This is great insight for those who are able to set up their own VPN server. There are many users who won't think to or be able to do this type of thing, and the providers themselves should be able to engineer a clear, workable solution. To the point touched on in our post, we should make it as easy as possible for all internet users to be able to remain protected. Using a VPN is an easy step some are taking already, but a blockage like this from Hulu stands in the way of even basic protection.

    I know you mentioned Linux, but could you think of any solutions for those using Mac OS or Windows?