Published Jul 11, 2016Because their country clearly needed more draconian laws, the United States legal system has decided that it's a federal crime to share passwords for streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and HBO Go.
As the Guardian reports, three U.S. judges ruled last week that sharing your password constitutes a criminal act under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
The ruling stems from an ongoing United States vs. Nosal case, where a former employee of the recruitment firm Korn/Ferry allegedly used a co-worker's password to help launch a rival company.
That allegedly took place way back in 2004, but now the judges have concluded that giving someone else your password does not mean you are authorizing them to use the online service. That authorization has to come from the company that issued the account.
Because of this ruling, company's like Netflix could take legal action against password sharers if they felt like it.
That said, they probably won't. Despite reports from Variety that the streaming world has lost upwards of half a billion dollars from password sharing, most company's CEOs seem fine with the practice. In fact, they consider password sharing a form of free advertising.
Still, don't say we didn't warn you if a SWAT team busts down your front door for watching Lady Dynamite with your little brother's Netflix password.