Streaming media companies have started discussing the ethics behind password sharing. According to a recent survey, 46 percent of subscribers share their passwords with other people; and not all within their immediate family. The question many are now asking is whether this is ethical and allowed by the media companies.
The question has come up now that other companies are considering streaming-only services. HBO is considering a streaming-only service to encourage more people to stop downloading TV shows illegally. People refuse to pay for a cable subscription just to watch something online.
According to Netflix, there is a line when it comes to sharing streaming media passwords. Reed Hastings, CEO of the company, says that husbands and wives or those within the same household are likely to share accounts. That is perfectly acceptable, and appropriate use of the streaming service. However, he says that sharing with someone outside of the immediate family, such as a “boyfriend’s uncle,” is not an appropriate use.
Amazon takes a different approach, saying that sharing its streaming media, Prime Instant Video, is not acceptable under any circumstances. However, there is some debate over this considering it is possible to watch two streams at the same time. If the company did not allow password sharing, what would be the point in this feature? It is likely that the company will only allow it if the use is in the same household.
While discussing the ethics of password sharing, streaming media companies do put their own limits in place to make sure it does not happen too much. As stated, Amazon allows up to two streams at the same time. That would suggest that only two people can share a password. Netflix has different simultaneous stream options depending on a package. It is possible to allow up to four streams at the same time.
Hulu, on the other hand, does not allow any simultaneous streams, suggesting that it does not find any type of password sharing ethical. The accounts are only for personal use. HBO currently allows three streams and are limited to one household. There is no confirmation over whether this will change if HBO offers a streaming-only service.
There is also the debate over the safety of sharing passwords. Many people use the same passwords for their streaming media as they do for their emails. For those planning on handing out their password to friends and family members, it is important to make sure it is 100 percent unique. That will help to protect other accounts. It is best to do this anyway to help prevent problems if an account is hacked.
Is streaming media password sharing okay? It really does depend on the company and the plan that a person has. For some companies, limited password sharing is expected. Netflix does not expect people within the same house to have different accounts. However, it is inappropriate to share with people outside the immediate family. Other companies take the approach that everyone should have their own account when discussing the appropriate use of streaming media password sharing.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham