Sharing Netflix Passwords May Be illegal, UK Government Says

By : thoughtfulnews.com December 29, 2022

According to UK Government agencies, sharing passwords for online streaming services like Netflix is ​​against the law.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said Tuesday that the action violates copyright law.

UK Government

In the UK Government it’s common for people who don’t live together to share passwords for streaming services, but it’s usually against terms of service.

Netflix has never indicated that it would take legal action in such cases.

The IPO has since removed any reference to password sharing in the government’s guidance on her website. However, a spokesperson confirmed that the password sharing laws have not changed, nor have the IPO guidelines. Password sharing is both a criminal and civil matter.

“There are a number of criminal and civil law provisions that may apply in cases of password disclosure where the intention is to allow users access to copyrighted works without payment.” said.

“These clauses may include breach of contract terms, fraud, or secondary copyright infringement, as the circumstances warrant.

There is no evidence that any major UK Government streaming video operator will do so.

Netflix says people who borrow someone else’s account can “easily” create their own account, transfer their profile to the new account, create “sub-accounts” and pay extra for family and friends. He said he wanted to be able to In early 2023, it said it would start rolling out these features “more broadly.”

The BBC has also reached out to streaming service operators Amazon and Disney for comment.

Scale Of The Problem :

Research firm Digital i estimates that about a quarter of UK Netflix subscribers (about 4 million) share passwords.

Product Manager Matt Ross told his thoughtfulnews.com that account sharing is a “huge challenge” for Netflix and other streaming services.

“With the addition of the ad-supported tier, there is clearly an opportunity for Netflix to generate significant additional revenue by cracking down on account sharing and making those who do it their own subscribers.

“But the question remains:
What motivates multiple households sharing a premium account to do this?”

In May, then-Culture Secretary Nadine Dries announced that she was one of the people sharing the account.

“My mom has access to my account and so do my kids. I have Netflix, but there are four other people who can use my Netflix account in different parts of the country,” she told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Commission.

As Netflix grows in the UK Government streaming her service tweeted that sharing passwords among friends and family has become commonplace.

View original tweet on Twitter

Since then, user growth has stagnated, and Netflix has attempted to crack down on practices that violate its terms of service, but no legal action has been taken.

Instead, new price ranges have been introduced to make the service look more attractive: B. An ad-supported price point of £4.99 launched in the UK in November.

Criminal Action :

An interesting part of the IPO’s response is the reference to criminal law, suggesting that individuals could theoretically be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for leaking passwords.
This did not rule out CPS.

A spokesperson told Thoughtfulnews.com:
“The decision to charge someone for sharing a password for a streaming service will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with due consideration of the individual circumstances and the facts of each case.

“As in all cases, when referred to CPS by an investigator for a decision to prosecute, it is our duty to pursue prosecution when there is sufficient evidence and the public interest warrants prosecution. is.”

There is no evidence that UK police will investigate anyone who disclosed passwords to streaming services.

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