UK government says Netflix password sharing breaks the law

Netflix Logo on Pixel 6

Netflix password sharing is allegedly an illegal act in the UK, according to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The BBC reports that IPO has removed reference to password sharing in its guidance on the government website. However, a spokesperson has confirmed that sharing passwords among Netflix users is still illegal in the UK.

While the streaming giant has never taken any legal action against users who share their passwords with others, it is now charging US-based users a fee for doing so. Netflix also promised to launch a crackdown campaign against password sharing next year.

“There are a range of provisions in criminal and civil law which may be applicable in the case of password sharing where the intent is to allow a user to access copyright-protected works without payment,” the spokesperson told BBC. IPO says password sharing might be considered a violation of contractual terms or secondary copyright infringement. Using the feature for fraud is also plausible.

Netflix password sharing is an illegal act in the UK

While the IPO paves the way for streaming companies to bring password-sharing cases to the court if the provisions are provided in civil law, no company has ever done this before. Even Netflix, facing a lack of user growth and declining revenues, has never done such a thing against its users.

Streaming companies can track IP addresses, account activity, and device IDs to identify password-sharing cases, but opening a lawsuit against a user for sharing his password is complete nonsense.

Password sharing is a big challenge for streaming companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney as it reduces their revenue from new users. According to the estimations from Research firm Digital i, around four million UK Netflix subscribers are now sharing their passwords.

The UK’s former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries revealed she also shares her Netflix account with her mother and kids. The extent of password sharing among Netflix users is so broad that even the company is joking about it, saying, “Love is sharing a password.”

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