Sharing your Netflix account is now officially a criminal offense
If you are one of the many, many who share their Netflix password – you are breaking the law.
According to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), sharing passwords for streaming accounts can constitute “secondary copyright infringement”.
Passing login details to family and friends is, let’s face it, pretty common despite Netflix’s terms that say “people who don’t live in your household must use their own account”.
In guidance published this week, the IPO said: “Paste internet images on social media without permission, or access movies, TV shows or live sporting events through Kodi boxes, hacked Fire Sticks or apps without paying a subscription is a copyright infringement and you may be committing a crime.’
The guidance had previously included a reference to password sharing, but the agency quickly removed it.
However, an IPO spokesperson confirmed the law and its guidance remained unchanged.
“There are a number of provisions in criminal and civil law that may apply in the case of password sharing where the intention is to allow a user to access copyrighted works without payment.
“These provisions may include breach of contract, fraud or secondary copyright infringement depending on the circumstances.”
But it is up to the streaming service provider to take action through the courts if necessary, the IPO said.
Netflix has already started cracking down on customers who share their accounts with people they don’t live with. The streaming giant, which has lost subscribers to competition and rising inflation, launched a crackdown in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru against people who share passwords and is considering expanding the scheme.
The company has also introduced a new cheaper ad-supported tier costing £4.99 a month to attract customers.
Netflix has changed its tune since it joked on Twitter that “Love shares a password” as it rapidly expanded in the UK in 2017.
Disney+ does not allow users to share their password with other households, while Amazon Prime customers can share their account with one other person.
Jake Moore, Global Cyber Security Advisor at ESET, said: “It’s never a good idea to share passwords because it can compromise the security of your accounts and personal information.
“When you share a password, you give someone else access to your account and any sensitive information that may be associated with it, such as financial information, personal documents and other sensitive data. Furthermore, many people still use the same password for multiple accounts, potentially putting those accounts at risk of compromise as well.
“It’s always best to keep passwords private and to use unique, strong passwords for each of your accounts. To help generate good passwords, a password manager can be used to create a unique, random password and remember it for you.’
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