Password Sharing On Streaming Services Now A Criminal Offence In The UK

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

21 Dec 2022

Slap bang in the middle of a cost of living crisis and just in time for the festive period, password sharing on streaming services is now a criminal offence in the UK!

The UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announced “password sharing on streaming services [e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.] … without paying a subscription” is now considered breaking copyright law.

The IPO said offenders could be liable for criminal fraud. It said in a statement: “There are a range of provisions in criminal and civil law which may be applicable in the case of password sharing where the intent is to allow a user to access copyright protected works without payment.”

“These provisions may include breach of contractual terms, fraud or secondary copyright infringement depending on the circumstances.”

Sharing passwords beyond your household is against Netflix’s terms of service, and the company can take action against users and their accounts.

Netflix began its crackdown on password sharing last year following shrinking subscriber numbers.

Ironically, password sharing was widely accepted as a key part of Netflix’s initial growth, with the company even publicly condoning it.