We may be entering a second golden age of piracy, which is bad news for streaming services such as Netflix. Though, these services are not content to just sit on their hands and do nothing about it. As such, most major media companies in the industry have partnered to crack down on password sharing, which is the biggest threat to profits in the modern era, as file-sharing had decreased significantly in recent years.

According to a new report, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) is working to restrict "unauthorized access to content." A specific group within the organization has been formed to tackle this problem, which is a very complex one, to be sure. ACE was formed specifically to tackle antipiracy and it's backed by Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Sony, Paramount, AMC, Lionsgate and MGM, as well as internet service providers Comcast and Charter. All of this to say, virtually every major streaming service on the market now, or entering the market in the near future, will be backed by ACE.

Netflix currently has 150 million subscribers worldwide, but its days as the unquestioned king of the hill are in danger, perhaps for the first time ever. Apple TV+ just launched, Disney+ is just around the corner, HBO Max and NBC's Peacock are on the way next year, plus there are smaller services such as Shudder and CBS All Access out there as well. That means consumers will have tough decisions to make. Shelling out for every major streaming service by the end of 2020 will run nearly $100 per month. That defeats the point of cord-cutting and means not everyone is going to subscribe to every service. This is where the problem comes into play for these services.

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In order to become profitable, all of these streaming services need to amass subscribers, as they're spending billions between original content and licensing deals. Yet, password sharing is already an issue and, given the rise of services about to hit the market, it's expected to grow exponentially. For every password shared, it's possibly monthly subscription dollars lost. So it's easy to see, from a business perspective, why this is a key issue to tackle. The real problem is, how best to tackle it?

As anyone who grew up in the early 2000s knows, the music industry faced a huge issue in tackling piracy with the rise of file-sharing sites like Napster. Unfortunately, when record companies started suing average consumers, things got ugly and it became something of a major PR problem that the industry truly never recovered from. The companies behind these streaming services can't afford to make the same mistakes.

While there are legal precedents that could help, should legal action become necessary, such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, companies like Netflix and HBO would be wary of taking legal action, given what it could do to their image in the public eye. Instead, it's likely ACE will try to technology-based measures to try and curb password sharing. Either way, using your friend's Disney+ password to watch old episodes of Gargoyles may not be so easy in the future. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott