How to get around territorial rights if you live in a different country

Have you ever wanted to watch some exclusive content on a website and got that annoying "This material is not available in your region" message? Have you ever been excited about a Kindle deal and had the rug pulled from under your feet when you found out that the price you saw on Reddit or a message board doesn't apply to you? Of course you have! And it sucks, right?

I first encountered this crap years ago. I used to be a big Survivor fan. Alas, all the bonus content found on the CBS website wasn't available in Canada. And since per capita Survivor was more popular in Canada than in the USA, that didn't make a whole lot of sense. It was a sad state of affairs, but that was that. The same goes for Koh-Lanta, the French adaptation of Survivor aired in France. The TF1 website maintains territorial rights and all the additional content for the show could not be watched here in Canada. Keep in mind that this was before the proliferation of the illegal streaming websites, so in those days everyone in my situation was pretty much shit out of luck.

But then I met a few foreign university students and interns and they taught me how to change my IP address. By fooling those websites into believing that my computer's internet connection was in the appropriate country, all of a sudden I had access to all that content I so wanted to watch. This was how they continued to watch their favorite series and TV shows while studying or working abroad. A couple of years ago, when most of those ebook deals I've been posting on the Hotlist were sadly almost always unavailable in Canada, I remembered that little trick. And voilà! I could download whatever I wanted, even if the deal was supposedly only available in the USA, the UK, or Australia. You see, that little IP address switch allows you to get around that irritating territorial rights issue.

I originally wanted to write this post last summer because I felt that not only would it allow readers around the globe to benefit from one sale or another, but I'm convinced that it would also reduce book piracy. I began to ask SFF authors how they felt about my doing that. On the one hand, it's always better to get a bit of money than to make squat if people resort to piracy to get their hands on a book/series. But on the other, what will benefit an American publisher might hurt the sales of the British publisher, etc. In the end, after getting in touch with about 30 different writers in the last couple of months, the answer was pretty much always the same. They all prefer to have readers pay for their novels, even if it's at a much discounted price, but they can't go public and say that due to their multiple book deals with international publishers.

So there you have it. All you need to do is find out how to change your IP address. Because the process is a bit different and depends on the browser you use, just Google how to change your IP address with this or that browser. Once you've learned how to do just that, Google for free IP addresses from whatever country you need. There are countless of them, but most only work for a few hours. So you might have to try out a few before you find one that works perfectly. Once you complete that process, which will probably affect the speed and efficiency of your browsing, to all ends and purposes it now appears that your internet connection is coming from whatever country you selected. Since the performance of your computer will go down while you use that new IP address, don't forget to set it back to your default setting when you're done downloading or watching the content that is normally unavailable in your region.

After that, create an account on the website you need to visit. If you already have an account, you just need to change your mailing address for one in that particulat country. The technology has gotten a lot better in recent years, so you need to use a true address. That's easy to do, as all you need to do is Google that info. If you have family in that country, it's all good. If not, most people use the address of big companies. Again, if you actually purchase stuff from that website from time to time, don't forget to change back your mailing address when you're done. Otherwise they'll ship your order to the wrong address in the future.

At this juncture, you now have an internet connection based in the apropriate country, a mailing address from that same country, and you can download a book for the same price as residents, or watch content that up until that point wasn't available where you live.

Simple, easy, free. And now, instead of bitching here, on Westeros, on Reddit, or elsewhere that you can't take advantage of those promotions because you live in Armenia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, or Argentina, you can fork out your hard-earned cash and download whatever is on sale anywhere around the world.

You could also use a Smart DNS or VPN technology, which is what people everywhere around the world do to get the American version of Netflix when their country's version isn't as good, but that costs money. You have no choice when it comes to Netflix, for your fake IP address needs to remain constant. But for your occasional needs to stream geo-based content or to access international content protected by territorial rights, a simple IP address switch is the way to go.

Have fun! =)

10 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Didn't know that! Trying this now! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pat!

Ash said...

It's unfortunate that in a connected world most intellectual property (including e-books, movies, TV) is still tied to the old ways.

Now on top of it we also have "exclusive" ecosystems from companies like Amazon and Apple that try to control purchases not only by what country you live on but what device you use. I had a bit of a dispute with Dave Duncan a few years back when some of his readers weren't happy about one of his books being Kindle-exclusive and I pointed out that it was easy and in most countries legal to buy it, strip the DRM and format-shift it for other e-readers, perhaps he didn't understand that he (and his publisher) were still getting paid this way by readers who otherwise didn't have the option of buying the book.

Johnny said...

My family has been getting the American Netflix version for about 3 years here in Canada but I didn't know this was why I always had access to the ebook deals you post.

Nice to see that there are easy ways for people to get around those artificial barriers set up by big companies.

Anonymous said...

But if it's so easy, why aren't more people doing it?

Checking this out for sure!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip! Had no idea it could be so easy!

Anonymous said...

Nice! Just bought The Vagrant and Kushiel's Dart for US4$!


Patrick said...

I have no idea why more people aren't doing this. Like me a few years back, they probably don't know you can get around territorial rights so easily. And I guess that most people in the know keep it to themselves for fear of seeing things change and have them lose that little edge.

Thankfully, things are slowly changing. For instance, most of the ebook deals found on are now available on Not all of them, mind you, but enough that I haven't had to use the IP address switch in several months.

As far as Netflix is concerned, everyone I know using Netflix in Canada have American accounts because they have access to thousands more series and movies.

With such a weak Canadian dollar, it will be interesting to see if people will use that trick to shop at instead of elsewhere. Indeed, with such an advantageous exchange rate, they would save even more money. is matching the price of its American counterpart for Jacqueline Carey's KUSHIEL'S DART, which means that it's 2.99$ regardless of where you buy it. And yet, once you convert the amount, Americans would only pay 2.23$ for that ebook. British readers only £1.80, and Western Europeans only 2.11 euro.

There will always be disparities between websites. But let us hope that price matching around the globe will become more and more commonplace, so that finally everyone can take advantage of them.

Anonymous said...

Will definitely give this a try! Most of those ebook deals you post don't work for me.:/

Jon R. said...

I live in Japan and haven't had problems with US kindle deals since that's where my kindle is from. A few months ago my DNS service got blocked from netflix but I actually think Japan's got as good or better stuffed licensed here. I just finished the newest Berserk series on Netflix which I doubt you can get in the States.