Share Netflix in Tennessee, go to jail


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By Suzanne Choney

Visiting a friend in Tennessee and want to log into their Netflix account to watch movies on the computer or TV? Don't even think about it.

The governor there just signed into law a groundbreaking bill that makes it a crime to use a friend’s login — even with permission — to do so. Ditto for the music service Rhapsody.

The law takes effect July 1. Anyone convicted of stealing $500 or less of such entertainment that way could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Over $500 and the violator could be looking at a felony charge, with more jail time and heftier fines.

The legislation is really aimed at "hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk, but its sponsors acknowledge it could be employed against people who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription," notes The Tennessean:

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.

The Recording Industry Association of America said in passing the law, Tennessee becomes the "first state to update its theft-of-cable laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment," the newspaper said.

So, be careful when visiting the "Agriculture and Commerce" state, as Tennessee's motto is known. You might wind up on a prison farm after doing some soon-to-be illegal commerce.

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