Illegal password sharing: Netflix and Co. are facing a big problem

Share your own Netflix account with the best buddy? What is strictly forbidden is common practice in reality. Netflix, Amazon, DAZN and Co. have long since recognized this – but they are potentially creating new, even bigger problems.
Many Netflix users share an account. 84 percent of respondents share credentials with at least one other person. The benefits for the user are obvious: You pay only a fraction of the actual monthly price and still has no restrictions on streaming pleasure – creating different profiles makes it possible.
Which is not all users aware (or simply does not matter): From a purely legal point of view, the sharing of accounts with Netflix, DAZN and Co. is only allowed if the users all live in the same household under the same roof. Under this category actually fall only family members or roommates. So also says: The account sharing with the best buddies or the girlfriend who lives around the corner is actually not legal, no matter what package the account manager has booked.

The streaming providers themselves are hardly ever against it. Even after a long search, you will find virtually no evidence in the network that Netflix was really effective against account sharing – only in extreme cases , the provider intervened, for example, if an account password was sold online to several people. Here, finally, a “criminal intent” prove that is not given when sharing with friends and Co. undoubtedly.

Illegal Account Sharing: Difficult to prove in practice

Ultimately, the entire construct of alleged prohibitions and the unmotivated implementation seems very threadbare. Why enter the rules for account sharing in the terms and conditions so intensely, if it is not implemented, except in extreme cases anyway?

For Netflix here several factors should play into it. First of all, it is clear in theory that the suppliers go through unlawfully shared accounts revenue through the rags. If the provider really wanted to take action against private account sharing, theoretically it would be possible to locate the streaming devices and thus check whether the credentials found their way out the door or only be used under one roof. But even if this is the case, unauthorized use is difficult to prove. The account owner may eventually argue that he himself (or a family member / roommate) has used the account in a place other than his home (for example when traveling) quite legal.

Netflix and Co .: Rigorous action could cause a violent wave of termination

Netflix is ​​well aware of sharing accounts. As early as 2016, CEO Reed Hastings told CNBC that “account sharing, if anything, is very difficult to stop”. Since the passwords are shared a lot even within families and shared apartments, “you have to live with it”. What almost sounded like resignation at Hastings, the former HBO CEO Richard Plepler 2014 had formulated even more offensive : To prevent account sharing would be anything but helpful, because you are in the ” Business of creating addicts “, in German “Business to Create Addicts”. Just recently , Netflix announced Chief Product Officer Greg Petersthat in the future it would be more stricter against account sharing and seeking a “user-friendly” solution; However, he did not become more concrete.

This also puzzles only marginally: Because apart from the problem of distinguishing legal from illegal account sharing, there is another obvious reason why Netflix and Co. are so passive and cautious about shared passwords: the possibility of the Sharing an account is the key to making a streaming service available to many users. Streaming is particularly popular in the young target groups, but the purchasing power of students, apprentices or students is usually limited. Sharing an account with friends is for many the only way to pay for a streaming service. Netflix and Co. are aware that a rigorous approach to unauthorized account sharing carries a high risk of termination, because if the Netflix account for the individual due to sharing ban suddenly costs two to four times, in the long run not everyone will accept. Ultimately, there is even the danger that a stricter approach costs the services more than it brings.

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