VERIFY: Is it legal to share your streaming service password?

Is it illegal to share your Netflix password? Our Verify team looks for answers.

HOUSTON - Our Verify team is looking into a question a lot of us have asked - is it legal to share passwords for things like Netflix, Hulu or HBO Go?

Consumer Reports says 46% of adults admit to sharing a streaming password with someone who is not part of their household.

Here's what our Verify team found:

  • According to criminal defense attorney Scott Robinson, the courts have not been clear on this issue.
  • When it comes to password sharing, people often cite a 2016 legal decision that found it was illegal for a man to access his old company's computer system by borrowing a current employee's password.
  • While the court of appeals ruled it was a crime, the majority opinion said it's decision was not about password sharing.
  • While the legality is murky, Robinson says there is little chance anyone would ever be prosecuted for sharing a streaming password because it would cost too much money to prosecute such a minor crime.

While we cannot verify if sharing passwords is illegal, it's improbable that charges would be filed.

VERIFY: Sources

Scott Robinson, criminal defense attorney

 

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