Criminal Justice

Tenn. Outlaws Subscribers to Services Like Netflix, Rhapsody from Sharing Their Logins

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Lawmakers in Tennessee have passed a measure that makes it illegal for members of entertainment subscription services such as Netflix and Rhapsody to share their logins and passwords with others.

The purpose of the law is to go after hackers who sell these services’ logins and passwords in bulk, but the bill’s sponsors admit that it also applies to people who use friends’ subscriptions, the Tennesseean reports. The measure updates Tennessee’s theft-of-cable law to address the trend of Internet delivery of entertainment, and it is the first state to do so, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Stealing less than $500 of entertainment would be a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in jail; a larger theft would be a felony that would carry a larger penalty, the Tennesseean reported.

Nashville entertainment and criminal defense lawyer Bill Ramsey told the Tennessean that he doubts the law would ever be used to go after subscription-sharers living in the same household, but “when you start going north of 10 people, a prosecutor might look and say, ‘Hey, you knew it was stealing.’ ”

Public defender David Doyle told the Tennesseean that he thought an “entertainment subscription” could also be interpreted to mean a magazine subscription.

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