Many Netflix users across the world share the password of their account with family members and friends so that they can enjoy the content on the streaming platform. But the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the United Kingdom has said that the practice could invite criminal charges against such users. The IPO said that password sharing for streaming accounts may amount to “secondary copyright infringement”. Netflix has already said that it will start charging customers for password sharing early next year as part of its increased attempts to compel rogue subscribers to pay up.
In guidance published this week, the IPO said: “Pasting internet images into your social media without permission, or accessing films, tv series or live sports events through Kodi boxes, hacked Fire Sticks or apps without paying a subscription is an infringement of copyright and you may be committing a crime.”
The text earlier included a reference to password sharing, but IPO quickly removed it. However, the government agency’s spokesperson later confirmed that the law and its guidance remained unchanged, according to Independent.
The IPO also said that it is upto the streaming giant to take action through the courts if required.
Netflix has already started cracking down on customers who share their passwords with people they don’t live with. Announcing its first quarter results earlier this years, Netflix had said that more than 100 million households across the world use a shared password, which affected its revenue.
The streaming giant estimated that while it has nearly 222 million households paying for its service, accounts are shared with more than 100 million other households not paying the television streaming service.
According to a report in The Verge, the company had last year experimented with an account verification tool to keep unauthorised users from mooching off of others’ accounts.
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