The great state of Tennessee has just passed a new law concerning password privacy. The law, which passed through both houses with the help of the record industry lobby, makes sharing login information for entertainment sites like Netflix illegal.
Under the new law, which goes into effect on July 1st, entertainment services like Netflix and Rhapsody, who believe that passwords are being stolen or inappropriately shared, can press charges. Theft of services valued at less than $500 is considered a misdemeanor and offenders can get a $2500 fine and 1 year in jail. Theft valued at over $500 is considered a felony, and the penalties increase with the value of the theft.
The law, which is an expansion of other theft laws like stealing cable or not paying for the meal you at the restaurant, is aimed at curbing theft of login information, it is not exclusive to this and can even include sharing not only with friends but with family as well.
Meanwhile, Netflix is looking at changing its plan format to add multiple household plans. The new set up would be designed to make having an account for each family member a viable idea. This, in turn, would boost revenue.
Such a change could allow the new Tennessee law to be expanded without amendment to include the sharing of Netflix passwords among family members.