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Hulu begins password-sharing crackdown: What happens if you're caught

Following Disney+ and Netflix, another streaming giant is cutting off freeloaders.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Hulu streaming service
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Following in the footsteps of Disney+, Hulu has started its own crackdown on password sharing.

In an email to subscribers Wednesday, the Disney-owned company notified users of a change to the terms of service -- a change specifically related to password sharing.

"We're adding limitations on sharing your account outside of your household," the message read, "and explaining how we may assess your compliance with these limitations."

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Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier, Hulu said, users can't share their subscription outside of their household -- meaning the collection of devices associated with a primary personal residence. In short, if they don't live in your house, they can't use your subscription.

The new user agreement also says that customers cannot "impersonate or misrepresent your affiliation with any person or entity," meaning you can't use someone's login information without their knowledge. 

The changes will take effect immediately for new subscribers, but current customers have until March 14 to comply.  Even though the company has been around since 2007, it has never explicitly banned password sharing until now. 

What happens if you're still sharing your password? Hulu adds that accounts will be analyzed to determine if they're sharing, and if so, that account could be suspended or terminated.

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Hulu is just the latest streaming service to implement anti-password sharing policies. Both Disney+ and Netflix enacted similar rules last year. And despite fears that the crackdown would drive customers away, for Netflix, at least, the move worked in its favor, leading to a large uptick in new subscriptions.

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