Netflix and Amazon team up to stop users sharing streaming login passwords

The industry wants to crack down.


Digital content piracy is a resilient and resourceful scene that is adapting to the attempts to suppress it. A decade ago the entertainment industry's biggest problem was torrenting – while now the focus has shifted to unauthorized streaming, writes TorrentFreak.

But that's not to say that industry giants are thinking only about these scenarios. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), which brings together big Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and also ISPs such as Comcast in the US, is looking for ways to prevent password sharing.

What this practice means is one person subscribing to a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime, and then allowing their friends and family access to the same service by sharing passwords with them.

But the industry now aims to prevent users from such behavior, i.e., from “improperly” sharing their passwords to streaming and other services, and from “other content security practices,” as the CEO of the Charter ISP, a new ACE member, put it.

While the issue of password sharing is now on the radar of these companies, they don't seem to have any solutions ready, as Netflix revealed earlier in the month, saying there were “no big plans to announce at the moment.”

There's a money argument to be made here, but a rather simplistic one, as TorrentFreak observes. In 2018, a study found that password sharing could potentially cost Netflix $135 million – but, as the article said, there is no guarantee that those benefiting from shared passwords would subscribe if they no longer had access to them. In fact, some of those sharing their passwords might cancel their subscription if this possibility was taken away.

And as things stand now, they would have some other place to go – as competitors might embrace different practices concerning this issue. However, that's unlikely if a massive organization like ACE decides to come up with a uniform solution to the password sharing problem, TorrentFreak said.

While the practice is not allowed, until now there has been no great push by content services to curb it either. All that is now changing, although ACE and its members remain short on detail about how they intend to implement these plans.


Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovic is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovic is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]