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23 December 2022, 13:32
The streaming giant's plans to crack down on password sharing could impact 100million viewers.
Netflix is cracking down on people sharing their passwords next year in a shock move expected to impact around 100million viewers, insiders have suggested.
The popular streaming site is reportedly threatening to only allow those living at the same address to share an account, meaning no more accessing friends and family's profiles for free.
Rumours of the controversial plans have been rumbling over the last few years but a source recently revealed to The Wall Street Journal that the company was finally preparing to roll out the strategy in 2023.
It's thought movie and TV fans world-wide will miss out on their favourite films and shows, which is expected to cause a huge backlash in the online community.
According to the Daily Mail, Netflix's Co-CEO Reed Hastings told senior bosses password sharing was a problem that needed tackling after subscriber numbers began to fall for the first time in a decade.
"Make no mistake, I don’t think consumers are going to love it right out of the gate," another Co-CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly said this month.
The exact details are yet to be clarified, with many speculating the site will track IP addresses or provide codes to the primary account holders which will change each month.
Many consumers are hoping the crackdown will come in the form of a warning rather than a complete ban of using a shared account, while some believe Netflix will set up "sub-accounts" for a small fee.
Netflix announced earlier this year that they hope to come up with a solution to suit all parties, saying: "We've landed on a thoughtful approach to monetise account sharing and we'll begin rolling this out more broadly starting in early 2023".
According to a government agency, sharing a Netflix password could even be against the law.
The Intellectual Property Office explained that using someone else's account under the radar breaks copyright law.
And although the streaming giant has never officially stated it would take legal action against this common issue, a spokesperson for the IPO explained how it could be interpreted as illegal.
The BBC reports the statement, which has now been taken down, read: "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.
"Where these provisions are provided in civil law, it would be up to the service provider to take action through the courts if required."
Despite the claim, there is currently no evidence to imply any of the popular UK streaming services would act on this in a legal or civil context.