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Thursday June 2, 2011 10:17 pm

Tennessee may throw you in jail for sharing your Netflix password

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Home Entertainment, Internet

Netflix password tenessee

Have you shared your Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Rhapsody password with a friend? While it might seem harmless, this type of activity could now land you in some legal trouble in Tennessee.

Gov. Bill Haslam this week signed a bill that would make it illegal to share your password on subscription-based entertainment services like Netflix, Pandora, or Hulu Plus. As the AP explained, the bill is intended to stop hackers who sell batches of passwords, but it could extend to the average user who lets friends or family members watch a movie using their Netflix login or listen to music streams on Rhapsody.

"What becomes not legal is if you send your username and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions," bill sponsor Rep. Gerald McCormick, a Republican, told the AP.

The bill, H.B. 1783, was first introduced in February and signed by the governor on Monday. It goes into effect on July 1. Violations that involve services valued at $500 or less will be classified as a misdemeanor and involve a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. It would be considered a felony if the value is between $500 and $1,000, or if it's the person's second offense.

The bill received the support of the Recording Industry Association of America, which said the measure will help protect artists.

"Given the significant economic contributions of the music community to the state, it's important to ensure that the hard work of artists, musicians and labels is protected against emerging ways to steal music," Mitch Glazier, executive vice president of government and industry relations at RIAA, said in a statement. "While some states may already generally include subscription services in the scope of their theft of services laws, this is the first time a state has reviewed its cable theft law on the books in a forward-thinking manner to assure it is updated to address how entertainment is delivered today."

The bill says anyone "directly or indirectly harmed" by violations of the bill can report it to law enforcement.

In April, Netflix said it is considering a plan that would allow subscribers to watch concurrent "Watch Instantly" streams on the same account. Similar to how Netflix DVD customers can opt to have more than one DVD out at a time, Netflix streaming customers could add a customer to their account, allowing one person to stream a movie on a laptop while another person watches on a tablet, for example.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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