In 2021, Netflix had more than 200 million paid subscribers around the world, making it the world’s largest streaming service at the time of its closure. However, if you use Netflix, you may be wondering whether it is illegal to share your Netflix password with others. In this guide, we will clear all your doubts.
Despite its enormous popularity, it is not without flaws. To save money, many customers prefer to share their passwords rather than pay for the service outright. It’s obvious that Netflix doesn’t want you to share your password, but what are the repercussions of doing so?
Is It Illegal to Share Your Netflix Password With Others?
Sharing a password has always been fraught with ethical dilemmas, but how does it fare under the law? That question was answered in an interesting case in 2016 though.
The following is a brief summary of the situation at hand. A former coworker’s login information was used to gain access to “computer data owned by the former employer” by an employee whose own credentials had been revoked.
There was a hearing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States on this case. It concluded that the employee had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a federal law that protects against computer-related fraud.
Employees were found to have violated the CFAA when they used another employee’s login credentials to access computer data owned by their former employer and circumvent access restrictions that had been put in place.
It didn’t matter that the former coworker gave the other access to their still-working login details; the court decided that sharing a password between employees broke federal law.
When it comes to password sharing, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ shared opinion did not state that all cases should be treated alike. There was an emphasis instead on “facts and context” when determining whether similar password-sharing issues violated the CFAA.
Password sharing was still considered a federal crime, despite the fact that streaming services were not specifically mentioned in that case ruling. As a result, if you share your Netflix password, you may be breaking federal law, which is illegal.
Even if you’re one of those people who share passwords, it’s not that simple. Nobody has been prosecuted for sharing their Netflix password—or any other streaming service password, for that matter—at the time of this writing. Although Netflix isn’t actively pursuing this goal, it isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Is Netflix Against Password Sharing?
Netflix’s Terms of Service make it clear that sharing of passwords is strictly prohibited. Going through the Passwords and Account Access section of point five demonstrates this.
To use the service, you must agree to the terms of service, which state that “The Account Owner shall not disclose to any third party the password or payment method information associated with the account.” As a result, Netflix continues to state, “We can terminate your account or place your account on hold in order to protect you, Netflix or our partners from identity theft or other fraudulent activities.”
You could lose access to your account if you are caught giving out your Netflix password to anyone.
When Netflix released a shareholder letter in April 2022, it stated that it was okay to share your password within the same household. The problem arises when people use the same password in different places at the same time.
As a result of this, Netflix has begun to crack down on password sharing, and one of its primary goals is to monetize password sharing among households. There are already new features being tested by the company, such as the ability to add an additional member or the ability to move an existing profile from one account to another. These new features are only available in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru at the time of this writing.
Time will tell if these new features will be rolled out worldwide or not, despite the ongoing debate about whether Netflix should be trying to stop people from sharing their passwords.
Is It Moral to Share Your Netflix Password?
There isn’t a simple answer to this problem because morality rarely accepts generalizations. What’s right for one person may be wrong for another.
Is it so bad if you share your Netflix password with someone who can’t afford it? However, what if your Netflix account is suspended as a result of your sharing of a password?
Each Netflix user should think carefully about their actions and the consequences of those actions before deciding how much risk they are willing to take. You’re not alone if you share your Netflix password; many people do this, and the trend appears to be growing.
Can I Face Legal Issues If I Share Netflix Password?
So far, no one has been prosecuted for disclosing their Netflix password, as previously stated here on the site. If you do it this way, you’ll almost certainly avoid legal trouble and jail time. Although this may be the case now, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of it changing.
Netflix is unlikely to pursue legal action against you if you violate the terms of service. If it suspects you of sharing your password, it has the authority to suspend or terminate your account. Even if you don’t use Netflix for a while, the company can put your account on hold.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying that password-sharing has its dangers. Is it worth risking your Netflix subscription? Is it acceptable for you to potentially flout federal law?
Password-sharing on streaming services may or may not be viewed favorably by the courts in the future. Sharing your account is not only a security risk, but it is also a security risk. In the end, it’s your decision if taking those risks is worth it to you.