Tennessee Outlaws Password Sharing

Tennessee has passed a law making it illegal for residents to share online subscription passwords, the first such ban in the nation.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, prohibits Tennessee residents from sharing passwords to such sites as Netflix, Hulu, Rhapsody, and more. The ban is primarily aimed at hackers who steal log-in information and sell it online. However, everyday users are also prohibited from sharing information with their friends though it is permissible to share passwords with family members. The Tennessean notes:

"While those who share their subscriptions with a spouse or other family members under the same roof almost certainly have nothing to fear, blatant offenders — say, college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor — could get in trouble."

“What becomes not legal is if you send your username and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions,” said the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Gerald McCormick.

Residents who break the new law could face a $2,500 fine plus a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, assuming they are convicted of stealing $500 or less of entertainment. Those who swipe over $500 worth of digital goods face heftier fines and a possible felony conviction. The same is true of people who repeatedly ignore the ban.

The recording industry, of course, supported the new law, noting that Tennessee is the "first state to update its theft-of-cable laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment.”

What do you think?

Consumer Reports, Digital Life TODAY

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Categories: Entertainment

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