Illegal in Tennessee to share Netflix and other such passwords

Consumer Reports News: June 03, 2011 01:33 PM

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A new Tennessee law, the first of its kind in the U.S., will ban shared access to online subscriptions sites such as Hulu, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Netflix. The law goes into effect July 1.

The law is mainly targeted at hackers who steal and then sell log-in information in bulk. But this means it will also a be crime for everyday consumers to share user log-in information with friends so they can access media downloads for free: Think college students posting their passwords to music sites at online bulletin boards. Under the law, password sharing within a family will be exempt.

According to the law, someone who accessed $500 or less of entertainment could get hit with a $2,500 fine, plus a misdemeanor conviction punishable by up to one year in jail. And those who perpetually flout the Tennessee law could get slapped with a felony.

The bill was supported by the recording industry in an attempt to curb music piracy, which costs the industry billions, the Associated Press reported. Tennessee is home to the country-music capital of the world.

This law comes as online media offers are ballooning. Netflix alone accounts for almost 30 percent of online traffic, and the website continues to add new sources of entertainment, like streaming Miramax movies, as well as an original TV series.

Netflix sharing will be a crime in TN [Associated Press]
Tennessee outlaws sharing passwords to Hulu, Netflix, Rhapsody and other sites [Los Angeles Times]
Live in Tennessee? Careful With That Netflix Password [PCWorld]

Maggie Shader

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