Share Account, Go to Jail

The governor of Tennessee is such a brilliant man. According to the Associated Press “Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters earlier this week that he wasn’t familiar with the details of the legislation, but given the large recording industry presence in Nashville, he favors “anything we can do to cut back” on music piracy.” One step closer to Idiocracy.

This Tennessee law makes it illegal to share account information with others so that they can piggyback on your account. It’s actually an expansion of a law covering such things as stealing cable and leaving a restaurant without paying, and now it covers “entertainment subscription services.” As the case may be, it would likely cover subscription MMOs (and possibly any MMO depending on the wile of the shysters).

The most interesting part about this law is it makes criminal (illegal) what was already covered by all the license agreements and contracts users have to agree to as customers. In other words, the recording industry is basically asking the government, with this law, to do their contract policing (and lawyering) for them. This will, of course, protect Nashville.

I hope that Tennessee prosecutors have better things to do, like you know, prosecute actual criminals instead of economy-destroying, job-killing password hussies… like the ones going to college right now. I would bet dollars to donuts that each month prosecutors are going to get a list from their friendly recording industry lawyers of potential password sharers anyway. Using taxpayer money to defend private contract terms is a nice way to save Nashville some attorney fees. God save the recording industry.



8 thoughts on “Share Account, Go to Jail”

  1. Well this is the same state that just made it illegal for school children to be told someone is gay… even by their own classmates.

  2. Account-sharing clearly shouldn’t be a criminal offense, no argument there.

    Do you think it should be outside civil law, though?

    (Given that most MMOs impose no limit on the number of hours per subscription cycle that your account can be in active use, I’d be surprised if allowing another party access could constitute any kind of theft of service).

    1. Well most license agreements that you click through likely contain an agreement that your license (i.e., user name and password) are non-transferable. It is legal to create non-transferable licenses. Ignoring the question of the validity of such a clause in a click-through license for now, transferring the license, even temporarily, would be a breach of contract. Breaching contracts gives rise to remedies.

      I stand behind all this for sure.

      Our friendly neighbor “steals” Netflix. It’s wrong. She has plenty of money, and if Netflix went after her for services owed, I wouldn’t blame them. I don’t think she’s a criminal though.

  3. “leaving a restaurant with paying” is illegal in Tennessee? I’ll make sure I skip out without paying next time I’m there then.

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