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Print 85 comment(s) - last by foolsgambit11.. on Jun 5 at 3:37 AM


  (Source: digitaltrends.com)
Tennessee lawmakers have passed a measure backed by the RIAA that could ban the sharing of Netflix passwords

For years, the recording industry has attempted to save itself by combating illegal downloading of music and movies in an effort to increase CD and DVD sales. It's no secret that subscription services like Netflix are a thorn in their sides, offering movie rentals for one low monthly price. But now, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the U.S. state of Tennessee are taking these efforts to revive DVD sales to a whole new level by proposing a new law that could ban the sharing of Netflix passwords.

Netflix is an on-demand video streaming and video rental-by-mail company that launched its subscription service in 1999. The user base grew quickly, reporting 23.6 million subscribers worldwide this year. In addition, Netflix has Hollywood executives shaking in their boots, and even pushed Blockbuster into bankruptcy.

While Netflix continues to grow as far as audience and content goes, the movie rental and streaming giant may encounter some problems in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee lawmakers have passed a new bill that would make it illegal to share passwords for Netflix, Rhapsody or other similar services amongst friends. 

The bill is awaiting the governor's approval, and if passed, could put sharers of Netflix accounts in jail. According to one report, stealing $500 or less of entertainment would be a misdemeanor, and would land a person in jail for up to one year with a $2,500 fine.

The RIAA is backing Tennessee's bill in an effort to stop hackers who sell passwords, and say that Netflix password pooling falls into that category. Bill Ramsey, a Nashville lawyer, noted that those who share subscriptions within the same household would not likely be apart of the ban, as small-scale violations like that would be difficult to identify. But when one password exceeds about 10 people, that's when "a prosecutor might look and say, 'Hey, you knew it was stealing.'"

This definitely isn't the RIAA's first attempt to get its share. After battling filesharing service LimeWire in federal court over copyright infringement claims, the RIAA won $105 million, and many doubted its intent to share with recording artists, who were supposedly the ones to benefit from the case. According to a report released a couple weeks ago, the RIAA may distribute some of the settlement money to artists, and while it may pocket a large sum of the loot, it never said it would give artists nothing at all.

But many agree that this new measure is wandering into the zone of ridiculousness, and are wondering where the RIAA will draw the line. What about lending a friend a CD? Or a DVD box set? When will it be enough?



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RE: Er...
By ClownPuncher on 6/2/2011 3:12:18 PM , Rating: 1
Other than bandwidth, what was stolen?


RE: Er...
By Motoman on 6/2/2011 3:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Their service.

Think about it this way: YOU come up with some uber-cool online service, and you sell one license to one user for, say, $20 a month.

That user posts his ID and password on 4chan and the next day you have 2 million people "not stealing" your service.

You OK with that?


RE: Er...
By ClownPuncher on 6/2/2011 3:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
That would be fraud.


RE: Er...
By Golgatha on 6/2/2011 3:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
Also, it would be against the TOS with Netflix. Now, if I pay for 4 discs and streams, I obviously can't watch all 4 myself. I'm still paying for the service though, so who's to tell me what I can and can't do with my excess paid for services? Apparently the government and the RIAA, that's who! Certainly not Netflix, as I am consuming what I bought and paid for.


RE: Er...
By Motoman on 6/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Er...
By ClownPuncher on 6/2/2011 5:40:10 PM , Rating: 3
Okay. If we are to have a discussion about law, shouldn't we get the terminology and legality of it squared away?

The article mentions theft, you mention theft, but no theft is taking place. That is not the way to have a debate.

It IS illegal, and it already was. Why is TN adding another law to the books for this?

Now, on to picking nits: you used "your" and "sanctimony" incorrectly in your post.


RE: Er...
By Motoman on 6/2/2011 6:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
No, I don't think it's all that important to argue about what's "fraud" and what's "theft" as it relates to this issue. Either are illegal, and let the lawyers piss and moan about which term to use. Don't care. For the purposes of a non-lawyer discussion, either is fine.

quote:
It IS illegal, and it already was. Why is TN adding another law to the books for this?


That was what I started off asking.

quote:
Now, on to picking nits: you used "your" and "sanctimony" incorrectly in your post.


Yes, I typoed "your." No, "sanctimony" was used correctly, as you are clearly acting sanctimonious about your irrelevant issue of "fraud" vs. "theft." You kept asking it like it was some earth-shaking revelation that would part the heavens and bring down the word of Gawd - when in fact it matters not in the slightest for the purposes of discussing this TN issue on the internet between non-lawyers.


RE: Er...
By ClownPuncher on 6/2/2011 6:41:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yes, I typoed "your." No, "sanctimony" was used correctly, as you are clearly acting sanctimonious about your irrelevant issue of "fraud" vs. "theft." You kept asking it like it was some earth-shaking revelation that would part the heavens and bring down the word of Gawd - when in fact it matters not in the slightest for the purposes of discussing this TN issue on the internet between non-lawyers.


I mean, that is your interpretation of my posts. In my opinion, it is important to communicate clearly the entire issue, even if that means being pedantic about terminology. Sanctimony is something inferred by you. There is nothing emotional about my posts.

When discussing exactly what law would be broken by giving out passwords and access not authorized by Netflix, we get a background on how the cases are handled in court, how they are viewed by the public, how serious an offense it is, and exactly how it is dealt with on a punitive basis. I think that is pretty important to the discussion. Much akin to the whole copyright infringement vs. petty theft debates.

You're right in asking why we need more laws, and in asking why a corporation can't handle this themselves. It seems to serve neither the people or the corporations, just clouds an already too clouded legal system.

As far as correcting other peoples posts goes, I wouldn't take it personally.


RE: Er...
By kerpwnt on 6/2/2011 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
If anything is wrong with this scenario, it is a breech of the Netflix's Terms of Service. Netflix allows a number of concurrent streams equal to the number of discs you can "rent" at one time. Netflix is already keen to the fact that this is happening. They may not approve of it, but they do have complete control over it.

Why is the RIAA even involved? This is Netflix's battle (if they even care). If they need a private lawyer army, shouldn't they be tapping the MPAA?


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