Litchfield’s Going to Get Real Crowded: Sharing Netflix and HBO Go Passwords Is Technically a Crime

We're all Piper Chapman. Photo: JoJo/Whilden

Here's a fun way to live out Orange Is the New Black in real life: According to a July 5 ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, any "unauthorized" use of someone else's password is a federal crime. The ruling falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which takes an especially strict approach to the idea of  access. As Judge Stephen Reinhardt noted in his dissent, the court's decision could make many common instances of account sharing illegal, such as logging into a friend or family member's Facebook account, or, potentially, accessing their streaming service. Despite the fact that Netflix makes space for multiple users on one account, for instance, the site insists that "the Account Owner should not reveal the password to anyone." So even though Netflix probably won't prosecute, it's technically illegal to give password away to anyone: not your older brother who wants to watch Breaking Bad, not your dad who loves Adam Sandler, not even the cute guy you met at the party who just wants to cuddle and watch The Great British Baking Show. Also, that last one is a clear Catfish situation. Nobody is that perfect.