As children, we all learn that sharing is good, right? WRONG! There are many things that are wrong or just downright unpleasant to share. A single jellybean, for example, or herpes. And soon, in Tennessee, your online password to services like Netflix or Rhapsody.
Lawmakers in the Volunteer State have introduced a measure Billboard is calling “groundbreaking” (others might call it “annoying”) that would prohibit using someone else’s log-in to access online entertainment websites. The new law, which is currently awaiting the governor’s signature, was enacted to keep thieves from selling internet passwords, but can also be used against people who give friends or associates permission to use their log-in info. Billboard is quick to caution that spouses and family members who share the same roof will “almost certainly” not get a slap on the wrist for sharing. The proposed law is more likely to target college students, those old online music thievin’ pariahs, who might give their password to the entire frat house/dorm floor/Future Farmers of America membership.
The bill expands on a current Tennessee law that prohibits people from stealing cable, etc. Stealing $500 or less of Netflix/Rhapsody/what-have-you could result in a misdemeanor charge, with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Obviously, more theft would involve bigger penalties, plus a felony charge.
It comes as no surprise that the recording industry is one of the most influential lobbies/taxpayers in Tennessee, home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The industry’s domestic revenue has been cut in half over the past decade, falling from $15 million to $7 million. RIAA officials said the measure will be an important step toward combating online entertainment theft, second only to invisible electrified cages.