Are VPNs, proxies, and DNS masking services the same thing as BitTorrent sites, Usenet providers, and file-hosting services?
No, absolutely not. However, PayPal deems that VPNs and the like can be used to commit copyright infringement. As a result, PayPal is ceasing to accept payments to vendors that do provide such services.
VPNs, otherwise known as virtual private networks, are also commonly known as unblockers. It unblocks all Internet users in various parts of the world to appear as if they're visiting a website from a location other than their own.
Netflix famously geoblocks users from outside of Northern America from accessing its content library. Even if Netflix has launched in almost every country in the world, each market still gets limited access to Netflix's entire library. Except in the U.S., of course.
As a result, Netflix users from Southeast Asia, for example, will use VPNs to access U.S. shows usually unavailable on their shores. However, that might all come to an end if PayPal begins to block its payment services between VPNs and their customers.
One such company, UnoTelly, reports on its website that PayPal has shut them out without warning.
"On February 3rd, 2016, PayPal has severed payment processing agreement unilaterally and without prior warning. PayPal indicated that UnoTelly is not allowed to provide services that enable open and unrestricted Internet access," the Canadian VPN company reported.
In response, PayPal points out that such services violate the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy.
"PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy, or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction," the online payments company stated.
In the ongoing battle against piracy and copyright infringement, it seems rights holders have been winning major battles against these VPN services. First it was Netflix who decided to stop traffic coming from masked addresses online, and now there's this with PayPal.
Under such a policy, more and more VPN services are at risk of losing PayPal as a convenient payment method via the Internet. Like UnoTelly asking their customers to use a credit card payment instead, other VPNs may find themselves doing the same thing.