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Disney+ password sharing crackdown officially begins

A recent email to subscribers threatened account termination if passwords were shared outside the household.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer

It was just back in August that Disney CEO Bob Iger threatened to follow Netflix's lead and implement a ban on password sharing for the Disney+ streaming service, and it appears that day is now here.

In an email to subscribers in Canada, Disney+ flatly said, "Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household." If you do, the announcement read, your account may be limited or terminated. Disney+ clarified what "household" means by calling it "the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein."

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It's not clear how exactly Disney+ plans to track people sharing passwords, but the company did note that it was implementing "restrictions on your ability to share your account or login credentials outside of your household." Iger was also vague in August when he said that the company had the "technical capability" to monitor sign-ins but didn't give details. If it's anything like Netflix, it will use a combination of IP address, device ID, and account activity.  

A new section called "Account Sharing" in the subscriber agreement also popped up, stating that Disney would analyze the use of accounts to make sure customers were complying.

All of these changes are set to take effect in Canada on Nov. 1, so customers do have a little time to prepare.

After seemingly turning a blind eye for several years towards the practice, Iger finally called it "a real problem" in a call with investors a few months ago. That statement came just after the service announced another price hike that doubled the cost to where it started in 2019 and after an announcement the service was losing customers.

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If that seems a little contradictory, note that the password-sharing crackdown paid big dividends for Netflix as it saw a record number of new signups.

Netflix does actually let people share their password depending on the tier they've subscribed to, with the highest tier letting two additional people on board and the lowest getting none. Disney+ hasn't made any announcements about a similar plan, but the verbiage of "Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier" does hint at that.

To date, there's been nothing about the ban actually being implemented in the US. But if it's happening in Canada, it's almost certainly headed to the US soon. The question is, will it work for Disney like it did for Netflix?

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