Log on to your Mom's Netflix account, get thrown in jail. Sounds silly, right? Not if you live in Tennessee. State lawmakers just passed a bill that makes it illegal to use somebody else's login for a paid Internet service like Netflix or Rhapsody. Did your computer automatically sign in to your buddy's premium Pandora account because he was screwing around on your PC earlier? You just crossed The Man! Say hello to Big Bubba for us.
The measure's being tacked on to Tennessee's existing theft of services legislation, adding "entertainment subscription services" to the list of banned behaviors like stealing cable or gas, the Associated Press reports. The bill allows service providers who feel they're being ripped off to press charges against offending customers and freeloaders alike. The penalty, as it so often is with laws backed by the RIAA, drastically outweighs the crime. Stealing up to $500 worth of services can be punished with an absolutely ridiculous $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail. The penalties only increase from there. Sheer craziness.
Proponents of the bill, including the RIAA, say it was designed to go after college students who pass around their account information in bulk, "but its sponsors acknowledge it could be employed against people who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription," the AP reports. Awesome.