Sharing Netflix or Hulu password is now a federal crime
Most Netflix users are guilty of sharing their password with a family member, friend, or partner. As common as it is, many users are going to think twice about it now before giving it out.
Three judges from the United States Court of Appeals have ruled that distributing your passwords is a federal crime that can be prosecuted under the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The decision comes as a result of the United States V. Nosal trial. The federal court case involved a former-employee of a firm using the password of another employee in the company to download information for use at his new job. The defendant was charged and sentenced to jail time, probation, and $1 million in fines and fees. Ouch.
“This case is about password sharing. People frequently share their passwords, notwithstanding the fact that websites and employers have policies prohibiting it. In my view, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) does not make the millions of people who engage in this ubiquitous, useful, and generally harmless conduct into unwitting federal criminals,” wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt in a dissenting opinion.
With this ruling, can we expect Netflix and other subscription VOD providers to punish their customers for being password-friendly?