Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tennessee bans sharing

The music industry continues to push for draconian solutions to simple problems. Their newest assault on their customers is a Tennessee law which bans the sharing of your Netflix or Pandora password, which can now be a felony, depending on the level of infraction that the company can prove.

At issue for me is not whether sharing a password is wrong - unless it is within a family, it clearly is wrong - but that somehow the recording industry thinks a law like this is a better solution than simply putting in a technical fix. Why treat a stupid college kid like a Master Criminal, when you can simply lock the door (by limiting a streaming account to one stream at a time)?

It is a mistake to fix simple technical problems, with complicated, life-altering laws.


quizwedge said...

Seems to me their thought, if they're even thinking this much about it, is that technical limitations can be broken and they risk angering customers who are just sharing within the family. If they have the law behind them, they don't even have to pay for enforcement.

I disagree with the law. I think that the taxpayer should not fund what is really a civil issue. They should lock things down and strengthen their terms of service.

Nomad said...

The fix can simply be to limit every family to 4 simultaneous connections. That will cover 99.9% of their userbase (probably 90% only would ever use 1 stream at a time, anyway). And if they put in a process to cover families larger than 4 via manual intervention (i.e. call us and talk to a CSR who can raise your limit, if you have a good reason) then everyone is happy.

This is using a baseball bat to go after a problem the size of a flea. Either the law will never be used, because it is too broad, or it will be overused and abused.