Streaming and password sharing

Ever take a cookie from the cookie jar?

Was it allowed? The cookie was asking to be eaten. The only reason your parents didn’t want you to take it was to make sure you consumed safely. Did taking the cookie hurt anyone in the long run? Except maybe your cholesterol..?

At Keyring, the first question we get asked is “Is password sharing allowed?”

Our answer: Sometimes. It’s very unclear right now.

Most streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc..) do not have explicit language on the matter. When these services started over a decade ago, the internet and their business were entirely different. Clear perspectives from the platforms on gray areas like password sharing have yet to be defined and shared. At Keyring we believe there is a huge opportunity to deliver value to both the viewer and the streaming platforms by making tools that formalize and normalize sharing (related: Streaming's opportunity cost).

We live in an increasingly shared world, after all and we want to enable people to consume safely and easily. So we decided to summarize our findings below. We’ve grouped our top streaming platforms (supported by Keyring) into three buckets: SHARING IS OK, SHARING IS NOT OK, IT’S UNCLEAR.

The key gray area is that many terms refer to "your household." At Keyring, we are building for households: friends who live together, couples, Craigslist strangers who live together, etc. This would fall under the rules of many of these top streaming platforms.

SHARING IS OK -

*Language example (HBO): ***Authorized Users should be limited to members of your immediate household only. Each Authorized User will be required to read and accept these Terms and the Privacy Policy.

  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Wall Street Journal
  • CBS All-Access
  • F1 TV
  • Spectrum

SHARING IS NOT OK

Language example (NBA League Pass):

That you are and shall be responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of your Password, and for restricting access to your computer and your Password;

1. Not to share, transfer, lease, assign or sublicense any Password;

2. Not to circumvent the password restrictions for the Service, nor allow others to do so on your behalf;

3. Not to use anyone else's Password; and

4. To notify NBAP immediately upon discovery or suspicion of compromise of the confidentiality of any Password.

  • Crunchyroll
  • NY Times
  • The Economist
  • NBA League Pass

IT’S UNCLEAR

Language example (Netflix): The Netflix service and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Funimation
  • Plex
  • NHL TV
  • Xfinity
  • Fubo TV
  • AT&T Now
  • Financial Times
  • Sling
  • ESPN

More from Keyring