It’s official – password sharing on Hulu, Netflix, and HBO now a federal crime


In case you missed it, a federal court ruled this month that sharing passwords, like so many do on popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO could be considered a federal crime.

On 5 July, a three-judge panel from the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in a dispute between the headhunting firm Korn Ferry and a former employee who accessed its database after leaving the company. Sharing passwords without the permission of the system’s owner, the panel found, is an offence punishable under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). (Source – The Independent)

If you’re guilty of sharing password, don’t worry, yet. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t mean you’ll go to prison for letting your Mom watch Game of Thrones on your HBO Now account…but it does mean you might not be able to do it for much longer.

To be honest I’m a bit surprised this wasn’t already illegal since these services do charge for individual accounts and their EULA I’m pretty sure restricts the use to a single user already? (any lawyers who read my blog that can validate?)

Either way, we’re moving into a more digital world than we’ve ever lived in, and this means that over time more government regulation will impact online services. Uber and Lyft left Austin and AirBnB is having quite a struggle, and let’s be honest – these are still the very early days.

As governments around the world try to adapt to the changing world, somethings things will go too far, on both sides. The question is, how will this impact us and our everyday lives, right now it’s still too early to tell.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton