Millions of people watch some of their favorite movies and television shows using a streaming service like Netlfix, HBO or Hulu.
Have you ever had a friend ask to borrow your username and password? Could you get into some trouble for sharing it?
The 13WMAZ team set out to verify: is it legal to share your streaming service password?
Our source is professor David Oedel at the Mercer School of Law.
These days you can watch just about anything on a phone, an iPad, a computer or television. When you're trying to catch up on a favorite movie or show, a subscription is probably going to cost a few dollars a month.
A standard plan for Netflix is about $11, Hulu is $8 and Amazon Prime is about the same price.
Tysen Bryant just bought his own Hulu account, but up until now he used his mom's Netflix subscription to stream and save money.
"I've been kicked off of Netflix a couple times because more than two people were watching at the same time," said Bryant.
"What if your roommate or friend wants to use your username and password to binge watch themselves," we asked him.
"I wouldn't have a problem sharing my password," replied Bryant.
Professor David Oedel at the Mercer School of law says people wonder if that is legal.
"I don't think people are reading the terms and conditions, but on this particular issue, people are kind of sensitive to it," said Oedel.
Odele says there's something people should know first. It's called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It says it's illegal for anyone to, "intentionally access a computer without authorization or who exceeds authorized access," especially with hacking.
"You can get a felony for using other people's passwords and yes you can get put away for years," said Oedel.
So, we verified that technically it's illegal to use someone's password even if it's to stream, but streaming companies may not always enforce this to avoid losing subscribers.
"So that they become accustomed to it, essentially addicted to it so it's not in their business model in the moment to go after people," said Oedel.
So, let's breakdown some of these polices.
- Netlfix says, "the account owner should not reveal the password to anyone."
- Hulu says, "you are are responsible for all use of your account, including use of your account by other members in your household."
- HBO says, "your sign-in credentials should not be shared with anyone outside of your household."
For now, Bryant says sharing is caring so he and his roommate can keep watching their favorite shows.
"I'm just going to keep watching The Good Doctor and watch a couple of other shows on Hulu," said Bryant.
You could face jail time or large fines for sharing your password, so check your provider's terms and conditions to be safe.