Netflix price hike may spur growth in illegal password sharing

Netflix‘s recent price hike might fuel growth among a different group of viewers: password borrowers.

The streaming giant recently announced an upcoming price increase of 13 percent to 18 percent. The fee hike will raise the cost of the cheapest plan to $9, up from $8. The company’s HD standard plan will cost $13, up from $11. Finally, its 4K premium plan will rise to $16, up from $14.

Suddenly, borrowing sign-in credentials from friends and family seems like an attractive idea for the cost-conscious.

For what it’s worth, streaming platforms already know you’re sharing your passwords. And they’re not happy about it.

“Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids …. so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings during Netflix’s third-quarter earnings webcast in 2016.

Netflix notes in its Terms of Use that passwords “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household,” so when users sign up for an account, they automatically agree not to share. Other content streaming services generally have similar language.

When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman for Netflix referred to the company’s terms of service.

And what if you don’t follow the rules? Unauthorized password sharing can be considered a violation of the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, according to a July 2016 ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While streaming services generally haven’t cracked down on those who share passwords, they do retain the ability to monitor how you use their service and may send warnings to violators.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.