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No More Free Account Sharing on Netflix: Other Platforms Have Already Set the Precedent

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It has been over a month since Netflix announced the end of free shared accounts, setting a significant precedent in the industry. While it is currently the only major platform to do so, others might follow suit in the future.

Once Netflix addresses its initial user location issues, more platforms could join in. Although there are no known plans at the moment, several platforms have already indicated the possibility in their terms and conditions. They could introduce similar restrictions at any time, just like Netflix did.

Many Platforms Prohibit It, But Turn a Blind Eye

When Netflix conducted a pilot program in Latin America several months ago, strictly banning shared accounts, we foresaw the demise of account sharing. However, it was already mentioned in Netflix’s terms and conditions, not the new ones but the old ones.

If we look at Netflix’s counterparts, we can see that other platforms mention similar restrictions in their terms and conditions without actively enforcing them. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

HBO Max’s terms of use include a section called “Authorized Users.” It states that the service should only be used by immediate family members or individuals living together.

“Only immediate family members and individuals living with you can be authorized users.”

Is this just a coincidence? Let’s examine Filmin’s terms. They explicitly state that their service is reserved for domestic use. They even go as far as prohibiting access to relatives who do not live in the same place.

“The client cannot share their login information and access to the services with individuals, including family, friends, or third parties, with whom they do not live on a stable basis.”

New platforms also take a stand on this issue. SkyShowtime, for example, mentions sharing login information with non-household members as grounds for contract termination. In fact, they provide a list of reasons, and the last point reads:

“Sharing login credentials with non-household members.”

The “Exceptional” Cases of Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+

Let’s start with Apple TV+. It is linked to an Apple ID, which is a “universal” account for all Apple users. Sharing an Apple TV+ account means sharing other personal data, such as contacts, iCloud content, photos, videos, and notes. Therefore, sharing this account is far less appealing than sharing accounts on other platforms. While it is technically possible, there is a gray area in Apple’s terms and conditions.

Now let’s talk about Amazon Prime Video. This subscription is not offered individually but is included in the “Prime” subscription, which also includes benefits like fast and free shipping and Amazon Prime Music. To access the video service, one would have to share the entire Prime account.

Interestingly, Amazon Prime Video’s terms do not impose any restrictions on account sharing. Although they do not explicitly permit it, their terms hint at the possibility. In section 6g of their conditions, they state:

“You accept these conditions on behalf of yourself and all members of your household and other individuals using the service with your account.”

Disney+ is a bit more ambiguous on this matter. Their terms do not explicitly mention prohibiting account sharing. Instead, they discuss the maximum number of simultaneous streams and reserve the right to modify this aspect. This could possibly be related to sharing accounts, but unlike other platforms, Disney doesn’t affirm it.

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However, almost a year ago, Disney+ conducted surveys among users regarding account sharing, which served as a clear indication that they are considering the possibility. If they decide to follow in Netflix’s footsteps, they will either need to revise their terms or provide a clear explanation of any restrictions.

In any case, it is evident that most platforms have the authority to implement rules against account sharing. The social uproar caused by Netflix, combined with the lack of a reliable and effective system, may have deterred some platforms from taking action. However, the groundwork has already been laid.

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Originally published in Xataka Android: The Ultimate Guide to Free TV Channels: Platforms to Watch Channels Without Paying a Dime

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