Tennessee Passes ‘Web Entertainment Theft’ Bill

The Associated Press is reporting that Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that makes it a crime to login into to another person’s account to listen to songs or movies from services such as Netflix and Rhapsody. The law doesn’t make a distinction between logging in with or without the account holder’s permission either.

The bill only needs the governor’s signature to become law. The AP reports that Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill. As you can probably guess, the law was heavily pushed by the music industry in the state, looking for a new way to fight against illegal music sharing. 

While the bill was supposedly meant to target hackers and those that sell passwords of such services online, the bill’s sponsor admits that it could be used to target those who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription.

The bill is an expansion of an existing law in the state used to prosecute people who steal cable television or leave restaurants without paying for their meals. It adds the term "entertainment subscription service" to the list of services protected by state law.

Blog All Lawyers has some interesting commentary on the law here. They seem to think that this law features a heavy fine and is a Felony charge. Fines aside, this law is wrong-headed because services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus certainly have the ability to terminate your service or levy charges against you if you violate their terms of service.

Thanks to F__ked up for the link.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    It should be required to fully backtrace all laws to their originating sponsors and include them at the end of the bill.  And, more importantly, also include what they intend to do with the law and could potentially do with the law.  Then make damned sure that the law doesn’t allow for abuse.  It is best to not write a new law in the first place but, if you do, then make it a good one.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  2. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    the new law is meant for those who collect and share (or sell) a lot of logins but the law was written poorly so it can also be used against individuals who might share their login with a family member. maybe I shouldn’t say ‘poorly’ since I’m sure the MPAA/RIAA are just fine with having individuals strung up for sharing their Netflix or Hulu login with their mother :(


  3. 0
    Shahab says:

    Tenesee, backwards AND corrupt! Hey, I just came up with their new slogan, pay up Tenesee department of tourism. Otherwise I’ll sue you for breach of copyright!

  4. 0
    Thad says:

    You know, I always found The Right to Read to be incredibly trite and didactic, but damned if it’s not accurate.

    The good news is that I find it very difficult to picture a judge or jury upholding this.  Tennessee is going to waste a whole lot of tax dollars on this one.

Leave a Reply