Streaming is inarguably the most popular way for today’s users to access and watch videos. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, are and BBC iPlayer are causing a huge decline in downloading and file-sharing on the web. This trend will only continue accelerating as new services, such as HBO’s upcoming independent streaming service, launch.

This seems to be beneficial for everyone – you’re not downloading anything illegally by watching movies and shows on subscription-based services. In turn, content creators are getting the money they’re owed because their content is paid for by subscribers. Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple.

Even the largest streaming services, like Netflix, are not available everywhere in the world. Even the regions that they are available in often have varying content. Meaning if have Netflix in France you don’t have the same movies and TV shows as someone in Mexico, and the same goes for all other countries (you can read more about that here). This is why services like Unblock-Us have been developed. These are services which allow users to virtually reside in any country and access the full scope of content which is offered by their streaming service of choice.

Lately, people have been asking whether these VPN/DNS providers are legal to use. The short answer is yes. An article in the Toronto Star states, “viewers accessing unauthorized streaming websites are unlikely to be infringing copyright because merely watching a non-downloaded stream does not run afoul of the law”. So, as long as you are not downloading, reproducing, or reselling the content you watch, you are not doing anything wrong.

In case you need a refresher, check out our article on Downloading vs. Streaming.

Goodbye downloading, hello streaming! Enjoy!