With the new season of "Game of Thrones" set to premiere Sunday, HBO subscribers may be wondering: Can you legally share your HBO Go password with friends and family?
If you take HBO's CEO at his word, the premium cable TV company doesn't care if you do -- as long as it keeps viewers hooked on its programming.
Even if HBO looks the other way, is it technically legal to share your HBO Go password?
HBO CEO Richard Plepler told attendees at a Buzzfeed event in January that the company is aware of account sharing, but it sees it as a "terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of users," reports The Huffington Post.
- "Limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access." This means the license to access HBO Go content is limited to the account holder alone.
- "You may set up sub-accounts." Depending on your cable provider, you may have the ability to designate sub-accounts tied to your own, but these are supposed to be limited to "members of your immediate household."
Violating these terms may technically be seen as a breach of your contract with HBO/HBO Go, which may result in HBO terminating your HBO Go account -- although it already reserves the right to do this, even for no reason.
Other Potential Legal Concerns
However, Andrew Couts, a writer at DigitalTrends.com, believes that you could be running afoul of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by allowing others "unauthorized access" to your HBO Go account. Kashmir Hill at Forbes agrees, writing that the federal law's broad terms may apply criminal penalties to password sharing for almost any streaming service.
So share your HBO Go password at your own risk, even if HBO is practically encouraging it.
- Are You Breaking the Law By Borrowing an HBO Go Login? (Popular Mechanics)
- Legal to Share Your Netflix Account? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Legal to Show Netflix at Your Business? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- 4 Lessons for Young Attorneys: Game of Thrones Edition (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)