Now sharing passwords on streaming services has become a ‘criminal offense’ 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.”

But it’s up to the streaming service provider to take action through the courts if required, the IPO said.

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

Ironically, password sharing was widely accepted as a key part of Netflix’s early growth, and the company has publicly embraced it.

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