Feeds

US state bans Netflix, Napster password sharing

Recording Industry Ass. of America triumphant

Build a business case: developing custom apps

It's now illegal in Tennessee to share passwords for online content-subscription services such as Netflix, Napster, and SuperPass.

Senate Bill 1659, sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy and signed by governor Bill Haslam, adds "entertainment subscription service" to a long list of items subject to theft-of-services law.

It's now just as illegal for you to give a friend your Netflix password so he can stream Casablanca as it is to, say, tap into someone's cable TV line, walk out of a restaurant without paying, sneak into a movie, or use someone's car or "other moveable property" without their permission.

A nearly identical bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives, HB 1783, would have also increased the penalty for such misdeeds. Current Tennessee law makes the theft of services totalling less than $500 a Class A misdemeanor; HB 1783 bumped that level of punishment up to a Class E felony if the misdeed were the perp's second offense.

In mid-May, however, the House agreed to the less-punative Senate version that was signed by governor Haslam, which removed that felony elevation. SB1659 passed the Tennessee Senate 30-0; HB1738 passed the House 91-0.

Such massive support for the bill was perhaps no surprise, considering that Nashville, Tennessee is home to America's massive country music industry, and the Recording Industry Association of America was strongly behind the bill.

The RIAA has also been pushing for increased penalties for illegal content streaming on a national level. Last month, for example, it expressed support for a US Senate bill, S. 978, which adds streaming to illegal uploading and downloading as felony-status criminal activities.

In support of that bill, the RIAA's public policy and industry relations man Mitch Glazier said: "As the music industry continues its transition from selling CDs to providing fans convenient access to a breadth of legal music online, laws that provide effective enforcement against new and developing forms of content theft are essential to the health of our business."

In support of its argument that piracy is hurting the music industry, the RIAA cites a study by Frontier Economics which reported that in the US alone, internet users "consume" between $7bn and $20bn worth of pirated music each year, and that "that the global value of counterfeit and pirated products could be up to $1.77 trillion by 2015."

The RIAA also points to an NPD study which reported that US music lovers paid for only 37 per cent of the music they acquired in 2009. These studies, the RIAA claims, help explain why US music sales have sunk 47 per cent since the dawn of Napster in 1999, from $14.6bn to $7.7bn.

The US No Electronic Theft (NET) Act, passed in 1997, provides the RIAA with a hefty cudgel with which to punish music pirates: criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be up five years in prison plus $250,000 in fines, and civil penalties start at $750 per pirated tune.

Now, with the first US state having instituted a no-password-sharing law, the RIAA has another club it can wield in its battle against music lovers who may wish to listen to its members' wares for free. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
'Aaaah FFS, 'amazeballs' has made it into the OXFORD DICTIONARY'
Plus: 'EE, how shocking, ANOTHER problem I face with your service'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.