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Tennessee Makes it Illegal To Share Your Netflix Password 495

An anonymous reader writes "State lawmakers in Tennessee have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend's login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. The bill, which has been signed by the governor, was pushed by recording industry officials to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music sharing. They hope other states will follow."
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Tennessee Makes it Illegal To Share Your Netflix Password

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  • Hahahahaahah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @05:51AM (#36317506) Homepage Journal
    america, land of the free. as much as they have money that is. more money, more freedom. less, less freedom. hilarious irony of the land of the free in which freedom is tied to money, and those with the most money can decide how much others can be free.
  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @05:56AM (#36317524) Homepage

    If this was of concern to Netflix (which, I presume, faces pressure from the studios which license their content to Netflix), I wonder why Netflix would not place a limit on the number of simultaneous connections / streams delivered to any given account, or else the number of simultaneous IP addresses to which a stream is delivered for any given account?

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by next_ghost ( 1868792 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @05:58AM (#36317532)
    I'm seriously wondering whether the goal of recording industry is to make money, or if they just want to see how much they can piss their paying customers off.
  • Re:Hahahahaahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:03AM (#36317570) Homepage

    Freedom has had nothing to do with how America is governed for a while now. The big players are lobbying congress and other parties with truckloads of money. The people - you know, the guys the government is supposed to work for - are lost in the background noise.

    But be reassured, America is not the only country acting this way. Most western industrialized countries are at a similar level.

    Something is going to go wrong with this, there's no question about it. Exactly how and when is the question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:03AM (#36317574)

    How about making it illegal to lend your car to your friends? That will boost car sales which is good for the economy. You don't want to be a terrorist, do you?

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:09AM (#36317606) Homepage

    Damn... posting twice... oh well... new comment.

    Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters earlier this week that he wasn't familiar with the details of the legislation, but given the large recording industry presence in Nashville, he favors "anything we can do to cut back" on music piracy.

    This is simply precious. He is not hiding anything in this case. He doesn't know what he signed. He only knows who is backing it and therefore pushes it right through. To hell with the consequences.

    And the music industry? I thought this was for netflix? You know what I would like to see? I'd like to see how much tax the entertainment industry pays in Tennessee. Anyone know how to get that information? Also, is there access to information about that states collection of taxes of online services like these and finally the political contributions in that state?

    Getting a picture of the money motivation might show what this is really all about.

    But we get it -- Tennessee has whiskey and music... and little else?

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:23AM (#36317696) Homepage

    I know in Europe at least on rentals there is always a disclaimer to the effect that only you are allowed to watch it (with your family) but can't use it to share with friends or show in a public setting.

    In this situation, if a user were to show it to friends, and the contract prohibited it, then the user might be subject to action for breach of contract, or else infringement of copyright. Here, the summary indicates that sharing a password would be a crime, rather than an act giving rise to a civil (contractual or tortious) liability.

    Whilst copyright infringement is, in some circumstances, a crime, this legislation would increase those circumstances to an act which is not, in itself, an infringement, but which enables an infringement.

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:31AM (#36317730) Homepage

    I'm not a Netflix customer, but various people have posted online that you can register 6 devices, but can only stream to one IP at any one time.

    If this is indeed the case (I am not a Netflix customer either), then the situation is very much like prohibiting someone from lending a DVD to a friend. In other words, the prohibition is on consecutive, rather than concurrent, watching.

    However, part of me wonders if this is the case, since if, by giving my password to five people, I was competing with five others as to whether I could watch something (since the first person to start a stream locks all others out the service until they have finished), I would be rather less inclined to hand out my password, unless I was retreating to an Internet-free environment for a fixed period. Most people, I'd guess, pay for Netflix for the convenience of the service, which would seem to be undermined if one was not able, by virtue of operation of a technical lockout, to watch at any given point.

  • Predicted Long Ago (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ParetoJ ( 2014556 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:42AM (#36317780)
    No one should be surprised by this, it was predicted quite a while back:

    "Dan resolved the dilemma by doing something even more unthinkable—he lent her the computer, and **told her his password**. This way, if Lissa read his books, Central Licensing would think he was reading them. It was still a **crime**, but the SPA would not automatically find out about it. They would only find out if Lissa reported him."

    The Right to Read
    Richard Stallman
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

    Now that the precedent is set, its a matter of the government slowly upping the punishments until no one shares any kind of information without first paying for it.
  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:49AM (#36317816)
    I really wish that nobody would have taught the evil overlords how to read. They just keep 'stealing' ideas from dystopian authors.
  • by Noughmad ( 1044096 ) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:51AM (#36317830) Homepage

    As much as rms's predictions used to sound silly and exaggerated, they have an unfortunate tendency to be correct.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @06:55AM (#36317852) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, it's old news. There is a paradox here with RMS simultaneously being anti-free market capitalism and being pro-government control, while hating the natural expression of power of that pro-government control over the market.

  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:04AM (#36317900)
    Stallman is generally a big fan of personal liberties, which are an essential part of free as in freedom markets. I think he may be a proponent of certain industrial regulation, but the multinationals are generally bigger opponents of free market capitalism than he is. You can see that right here, as the conglomerates are pushing a law that is against free market capitalism for those who take the term seriously.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:16AM (#36317966) Homepage Journal

    I explained in detail what I mean by him being anti-free market and pro-government regulations here [slashdot.org].

    The paradox is that he simultaneously reconciles his believe that government must be in control over the markets, while at the same time being against government setting rules that favor large corporations, but the underlying reason for both of those things is the same - government involvement into the market and economy and setting the fiscal policy. He genuinely does not understand the economics and how the economy is distorted and resources are mis-allocated by the government regulations, maybe that's how he manages not to see the paradox.

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:18AM (#36317990)

    For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in collegeâ"when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

    This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help herâ"but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrongâ"something that only pirates would do.

    And there wasn't much chance that the SPAâ"the Software Protection Authorityâ"would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishmentâ"for not taking pains to prevent the crime.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

    Why must stalman be right so much the cynical old sod?

  • Re:Hahahahaahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:20AM (#36317996)

    america, land of the free. as much as they have money that is. more money, more freedom. less, less freedom. hilarious irony of the land of the free in which freedom is tied to money, and those with the most money can decide how much others can be free.

    This is a problem of human nature, not political ideology or system of government. It has and will occur in any and every government, no matter the society, ideology, or political system. Wealth, in whatever form it may take depending on the type of society/government/political ideology, has always and will always be able to buy privilege and favor.

    Private wealth in and of itself is not to be despised, as it is not the problem. The rich vs poor class warfare is simply a propaganda tool to distract and deflect attention from a too large, powerful, and corrupt government and therefor maintain the status quo by keeping people divided and angry.

    Humans are corruptible, weak, greedy, and fallible creatures. You can attempt to put in all the government restriction and oversight you want, but corruption will still occur. The larger and more powerful the government, the worse the corruption and the results of that corruption over time. All anyone can really do is keep it to a minimum at best.

    As I've stated in previous posts under past topics, the only way to keep government corruption to a reasonable minimum is to make the central government as weak as possible while still fulfilling essential functions. Keep as much governing local as possible/practical so as to distribute power and thus make influencing enough politicians to make a national impact impractical.

    As a bonus, and contrary to what many would say would happen with a smaller central government (that corporate/monied interests would more-easily influence/control government), with a less-corrupt government and justice system, corporations/businesses/unions and other wealthy/powerful interests that engage in bad/illegal behavior will actually have a decent chance of having meaningful consequences and penalties applied for their misdeeds.

    You certainly can't remedy a corrupt government by giving it more power and wealth. That's how governments become corrupt to begin with. You also can't remedy a corrupt government by removing/redistributing private wealth. That just puts *all* the wealth and *all* the power in the same small set of corrupt government hands that were the problem to begin with. The citizens would then find themselves even more helpless against government/political injustices while living in poverty and having little incentive to be productive.

    Many mistake the US Constitution as a purely political/ideological document. It's more than that. It's a distributed-network design. It's designed to distribute and regulate power just as the internet does with data. As with the original internet designs, it was designed to route around "damage" (corruption, etc) and report it to the rest of the network.

    Let me take the networking analogy a bit further to describe current conditions/trends in the US.

    What has happened in/to the US is management (We the People) have been off on the golf course instead of paying attention, listening to glowing reports from corrupt lackeys, meanwhile groups of rogue BOFHs have been running wild in the data centers and server rooms, doing everything from ripping out entire server racks and selling them from the back door, to installing their own hardware and software, selling company/customer data, running spam servers, etc etc.

    They've radically altered the network's design while we were apathetic & distracted for a decade or six. It needs to be returned to a state more closely resembling the original network.


  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:44AM (#36318144)

    All I see there is the standard libertarian fantasy - taking away government necessarily means everything will be just peachy.

    It's bullshit now as it ever has been.

  • Re:Hahahahaahah (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:56AM (#36318214)

    get yourself an ipad2, switch your brain off and doze your way through life. its what a lot of people around here do.

  • Re:Hahahahaahah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday June 02, 2011 @07:58AM (#36318226) Journal

    it seems to me that the ones who already have money and power in usa, are spreading the plague around to other countries, which again reinforcing the ones with money and power in usa.

    If you think greed and tyranny started in 1776, you don't know your history.

  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:24AM (#36318368)
    Having different views on government involvement in industrial regulations and personal regulations isn't a paradox. You can argue that it's inconsistent, and there are occasional conflicts, but those inconsistencies are quite common. To perform an extreme simplification of US political parties: Democrats want to regulate business and free individuals. Republicans want to free businesses and regulate individuals. You appear to want to free everyone. Stallman would more or less fit in the democrat stance.

    Even if you hold that Stallman's position as totally flawed, his position is clearly less destructive to free markets than corporations writing laws like this one, so he is the 'lesser evil', and your whining is misplaced.
  • Re:Hahahahaahah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rednip ( 186217 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:23AM (#36318964) Journal

    Freedom has had nothing to do with how America is governed for a while now.

    I know for a fact that people have been saying things much like that for more than 200 years, such attitudes would seem to be a part of human nature. Even though more of us are living longer, happier, peaceful lives than ever before in the history of the world (percentage and total numbers), every step of the way there are those that put out a 'hue-and-cry' that it will all be crumbling at any moment. As it's part of our safety instinct, people will always listen for trouble. Evolutionists might argue that one of the primary reasons for communication is warn others about trouble. However, some do so not because it makes an sense, but only because it sounds serious. Talk radio and the cable news channels' best audience are those who keep an ear out for trouble, and I believe create a narrative specifically to encourage such people to continue watching. If the their most loyal audience doesn't hear trouble, they go somewhere they can. This trouble doesn't have to be with the government and society, but it needs to be plausible to the audience, so for a modern society curses and witches would be channel changer (to the channel showing ghost hunter programming).

    All of us have this nature, but for some of us this 'hue-and-cry' comes at seemingly odd times or for problems often faced. Most are expressing genuine concern, but some do so simply for the audience, mass media has allowed such people to earn a living at it. Jack Van Impe [wikipedia.org] has been making a living predicting the end of the America/world since the early 50s; Rush Limbaugh, not quite as long.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.