If You're Doing This With Your Netflix Account, You're Actually Breaking The Law


Let's be honest, you've probably shared or borrowed a Netflix password at some point in your life, right? It's OK. I won't tell anyone.

However, you may want to quit that shit, real quick, because according to reports, three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just ruled sharing a Netflix password is indeed a criminal act.

Whoop, whoop, that's the sound of the police.

The ruling reportedly stems from the latest round of United States v. Nosal, a case involving David Nosal, a headhunter who allegedly left his job at a firm in 2004, but used the password of a person who still worked at the company in order to obtain access to the firm's database.

United States v. Nosal has apparently been in deliberation for roughly a decade, with rulings and opinions primarily based on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

There was reportedly a prevailing opinion from Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who expressed concern about the decision by the majority to criminalize the sharing of passwords in general.

This is where services like Netflix and HBO Go come into play.

Judge Reinhardt reportedly said,

This case is about password sharing. People frequently share their passwords, notwithstanding the fact that websites and employers have policies prohibiting it. In my view, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) does not make the millions of people who engage in this ubiquitous, useful and generally harmless conduct into unwitting federal criminals.

Whether it's fair or not or even enforceable in the foreseeable future, it doesn't change the fact you've probably broken - and are still breaking - the law.

Citations: Federal court rules that sharing your Netflix password is a federal crime (Fusion)