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Is it legal to stream movies with a VPN?

Is it legal to stream movies with a VPN?


Click here for a summary of this article Summary: Is streaming with a VPN allowed?

In short: yes. In most countries, including the US and other western countries, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN while streaming. This protects your internet connection and your privacy. It also allows you to access content that may be geo-restricted. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The use of VPNs is illegal in some countries, such as China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Different VPN providers may have different rules and policies about streaming.
  • Illegal downloading is not allowed, even with a VPN.
  • Most of the major streaming services, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc., prohibit the use of a VPN as part of their terms of service.

As long as you follow the rules of the VPN and streaming service, it is completely legal to stream with a VPN.

Surfshark is a good example of a VPN that allows live streaming:

Want to know more about VPN blocking, secure streaming, and what is and isn’t allowed with a VPN? Read our full article below.

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, protects your online identity and makes your browsing activity anonymous. It can also help you access geo-restricted content. But is streaming with a VPN legal? Popular streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus do their best to block VPN users. Why do they do that? Could you get in trouble if you get caught streaming with a VPN? This article will answer all your questions about using a VPN to legally stream movies and shows.

Streaming with a VPN: The Basics

First of all, let’s address your biggest concern: In most countries, including the US and other western countries, using a VPN is legal. Whether it is about streaming content or simply to protect your identity, you are within your rights to use a VPN.

In many cases, companies or governments recommend using a VPN to secure your connection. However, when streaming movies or series with a VPN, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • VPN use is illegal in some parts of the world. In countries like China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Belarus, and Turkey, VPN use is prohibited or severely restricted by the government.
  • Illegal activities remain illegal when using a VPN. All illegal online activities when not using a VPN remain illegal when using a VPN. This includes downloading copyrighted content, buying or selling contraband, etc. A VPN hides your online activities, so you are safer and more private online, but it never legalizes illegal activities.
  • Most streaming services struggle to use VPNs. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and other streaming services try to block streaming with a VPN. Be sure to read their terms of use for complete information.

Let’s take a closer look at all these aspects below.

Some countries generally prohibit the use of VPNs. This includes China, North Korea, Russia, Belarus, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Uganda, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela, to name a few. By using a VPN to stream content in any of these places, you may face serious penalties such as fines or prosecution. Check this article for full details about countries where VPN use is illegal.

Usually, countries that block VPNs tend to have strict authoritarian governments that want to prevent citizens from bypassing censorship and surveillance. Therefore, we advise you to be very careful if you are considering using a VPN in one of these countries, as you may face serious repercussions.

It is essential to know that illegal activities remain illegal even if you are using a VPN. This includes unauthorized torrent downloads of movies, series, music, games, and software. Although this is common all over the world, it is prohibited in most countries. According to European law, it is illegal to download a file without the permission of the person or company that owns the copyrighted material.

Moreover, it is also illegal to stream most series and movies on free platforms like Popcorn Time, PrimeWire, and Kodi. Keep in mind that each country has its own laws, so always make sure you are aware of them.

Even when using a VPN, you are subject to fines and legislation due to illegal downloads. Although a VPN makes it more difficult for governments and others to track your movements across the Internet, it does not exclude your actions from the law. So, always think carefully before you decide to download and watch a movie or series. In most cases, you can find entertainment in a legal way using a streaming service like Netflix or Disney Plus. However, keep in mind that these do not always work with a VPN.

In many cases, VPNs can bypass geoblocks imposed by streaming services. For example, Hulu and Peacock operate only in the United States. But if you subscribe, you can use a VPN to watch them almost anywhere in the world. Just choose a US VPN server, and you will be able to access all the movies, series and streaming available on the platform in the USA. This is completely legal, but it may breach the terms of use of the streaming service.

Once you sign up for a streaming service like Netflix, you agree to its terms of use. These terms of use often prohibit the use of VPN services to access content that is restricted by geographic region. If you are detected using a VPN, you may be blocked by the streaming service.

Why do streaming services like Netflix block VPNs?

Although it is legal to stream with a VPN, many streaming services are vehemently against it to maintain geographical barriers to their content. This is because, for some movies and shows, the streaming service may only have broadcast rights within certain countries. That’s why the US version of Netflix offers more shows and movies than, for example, German Netflix.

Streaming services use technology that can detect your use of a VPN or proxy. When this happens, you may see an error message as shown below:

If you turn off your VPN, you will immediately be able to access again, but only to the content of the country in which you are currently residing. In this way, Netflix and other services make it difficult for viewers to access geo-blocked movies and shows. However, a proper VPN service can help you bypass this and stream geo-blocked content, as shown below.

How to watch Netflix with a VPN

Some VPN providers can actively bypass VPN bans on Netflix and other streaming systems by constantly using new IP addresses. This can help you access geo-blocked shows and movies.

A good example of this is Surfshark. With this provider, all you have to do is choose a VPN server from the country where the content is available, and head to the streaming service to watch it. Of course, you need a subscription to the streaming service as well.

Want to try Surfshark? Click the button on the banner below. Then take a look at this step-by-step guide to learn how to watch Netflix via VPN.