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
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
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
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
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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