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.

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