UK says Netflix account sharing would be illegal

The UK government has decided to warn that it may be illegal to give your Netflix password to anyone, even if they are not sure and won’t do anything unless asked by the police.

You’d think the UK government had enough to deal with a shaky economy (like its neighbours), families struggling to eat or keep warm, but they obviously prefer to look into sharing streaming accounts. Unless it’s the corporate American lobbyists…

Netflix doesn’t want to share

According to BBC News, the UK government’s Office for Intellectual Property (OPI) has announced that sharing Netflix passwords falls under both criminal and civil law. That’s probably why Apple, Netflix and others Disney attacked Spliiit, which makes it possible to share the price of a subscription.

There are a number of criminal and civil provisions that may apply in cases of password sharing where the intent is to provide a user with access to copyrighted works without payment. These provisions may include breach of contract, fraud or secondary copyright infringement, depending on the circumstances.


BBC News specifically asked if this meant Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the United Kingdom not only could, but wanted to charge users who share their passwords with an offence.

Any decision to charge someone to share passwords to streaming services will be considered on a case-by-case basis. As with all cases, if an investigator refers the CPS for a charging decision, our duty is to prosecute when there is sufficient evidence to do so and when a prosecution is necessary in the case.

So if Netflix chooses to involve the police, the case could go to court and become a criminal case. OPI embellishes every statement with “may” and “if,” a way to remain cautious. Either way, Netflix has told BBC News that it won’t press charges against anyone, at least for now.

Instead, Netflix said, as previously reported, that it intends to “make it easier” to create personal accounts and, in early 2023, introduce “sub-accounts” that allow people to pay extra for their family and friends.

What do you think of this approach to account sharing?

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