Disney’s Password Sharing Crackdown Hits the US

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Last summer, Disney announced that it would be following in the steps of Netflix, cracking down on those who share accounts and passwords outside of their own households, and now it looks like the streaming giant is flicking the switch for subscribers in the United States.

Although Disney CEO Bob Iger had originally suggested this enforcement wouldn’t begin until 2024, the House of Mouse started warning Canadian subscribers last fall that the feature was rolling out in the Great White North.

In late September, Disney+ subscribers in Canada started receiving emails offering a gentle reminder that Disney doesn’t allow sharing of account passwords, adding that the company would soon be “implementing restrictions on your ability to share your account or login credentials outside of your household.”

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When Disney rolled out those changes in Canada, it made an update to its Help Center to define a “household,” and now it’s done the same in the US:

You may not share your subscription outside of your household. “Household” means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.

Along with that, Disney has begun sending out emails to its US-based subscribers with a similar message to the one it sent out a few months ago in Canada and updated its subscriber agreement with a similar account sharing clause:

Disney’s move follows a similar one by Netflix, although with Disney, there won’t be any more affordable options for those who have been riding on the coattails of someone else’s account. When Netflix began its crackdown, it offered to let Standard and Premium subscribers add “Extra Member accounts” for a lower price of $7.99/month each. This was presumably to help folks legitimately keep extended family members on board, as the primary account holder still has to pay for those extra accounts directly. They’re also limited to one or two, depending on the plan, but at least the option was there.

However, folks who get booted off an illegitimately “shared” Disney+ plan will have no recourse but to either give up their Mandalorian fix or opt for their own full-priced subscription.

Nevertheless, although Disney has not announced any sharing-friendly plans like Netflix, they could still be coming; the new clause on account sharing opens with “unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier,” which suggests tiers that could eventually allow some form of account sharing.

Account Sharing. Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household. “Household” means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.

We don’t know what actions Disney will take to enforce compliance, nor what will happen if two or more devices attempt to access the service using the same account from different locations. Like the email sent out to Canadians last fall, the company has told subscribers that it’s “adding limitations on sharing your account outside of your household, and explaining how we may assess your compliance with these limitations,” but it still hasn’t posted any articles that cover the “explaining” part; only that it may “analyze the use of your account to determine compliance.”

Hulu has taken a similar position, which isn’t surprising as it’s part of the same Disney conglomerate, and the new terms came into effect on January 25, 2024. However, Disney is giving those who subscribed before then a bit of a grace period — the changes won’t be enforced until March 14.

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