A Valley News Publication

Sharing your HBO Go password could land you in prison

Not to totally freak you out or anything.

With Game of Thrones set to return for its highly anticipated seventh season on Sunday, the New York Times figured now would be the perfect time to remind viewers that although you know think you’re doing your friends a favor by letting them mooch off your HBO Go/Netflix/Hulu credentials, you might be setting yourself up to start living that Orange Is the New Black life instead.

OK, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it *could* happen. That’s basically the worst-case scenario. What’s important to know is that there does seem to be legal precedent that could qualify password sharing as a federal crime, even if the passwords are for relatively harmless things like your Netflix account; and you probably didn’t even stop to consider that that was a real thing, even though you definitely knew it was frowned upon. (It’s OK, you’re among friends here.) Also, ethics.

if you listened to the headlines after a court decision last July, you might fear a SWAT team could bust down your door in the middle of your illicit “Veep” episode. Countless news sites reported that sharing your password would be a “federal crime,” while others suggested you might “go to jail” for it.

The less hysteric truth is more complicated but experts largely agree: You are in very little danger of legal trouble by sharing your password or using a shared one. The laws remain murky, but the government is unlikely to prosecute you, and the streaming video services have shown no desire to go after customers.

That’s likely a relief to all y’all password-sharers, but you should still check out the article for full deets. Read it here.