You could be prosecuted for sharing your Netflix password

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You could be prosecuted for sharing your Netflix password

You could be prosecuted for sharing your Netflix password. Yes! you read right. It is a crime to share your Netflix password with someone who does not live in the same house as you. So which country does this law apply to? There are several laws around the world that address the issues of people accessing copyrighted works or materials without payment. While you may not know exactly what the law says in your country, the UK does, however, have a clear position on this. According to a publication last month by the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which guides citizens on how to avoid piracy and counterfeit products online. The IPO called piracy a "major problem for the creative and entertainment industries," while naming actions like password sharing, which it said violated copyright law. Password sharing is very popular in the UK. Indeed, research firm Digital i told The Guardian in April 2022 that at least 27 per cent of Netflix's estimated 14.9 million UK subscribers - around 4 million - have shared their passwords.

While he noted that people could be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for sharing passwords. OPI also said it was both a criminal and a civil matter. "There are a number of provisions in criminal and civil law that can apply in cases of password sharing where the intent is to allow a user to access copyrighted works without paying," OPI said at BBC.

"These provisions may include breach of contract, fraud or secondary copyright infringement, depending on the circumstances. "Where such provisions are provided for by civil law, it would be for the service provider to take legal action if necessary".
There is no indication or evidence to suggest that Netflix or any of the major video streaming services in the UK will be taking legal action against password sharing.
However, Netflix says it will release a feature in 2023 that will make it easier for people who borrow someone else's accounts to create their own. That is, they can transfer their profile to a new account and also create "sub-accounts" for people to pay extra for family or friends.
But what if your streaming video provider decides to take a criminal action? According to a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), "any decision to charge someone for sharing passwords for streaming services will be made on a case-by-case basis, with due consideration of the individual context and facts of each case.
"As in all cases, if an investigator refers them to the CPS for a prosecution decision, our duty is to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence to do so and when prosecution is required in the public interest."