Are streaming companies within their rights?

The first television was invented in 1927, a bit after World War 1 but before the Great Depression. It provided a way to actually witness what was going on in the world including the brutality of the war, that would otherwise be ignored.

student watches a movie in class
Haley Harville, a Canyon Hills senior, watching Netflix in class. Photo by Betty Desta.

Now a century later, some things have obviously changed; TV has become an addicting source of entertainment, however surfing through channels and picking one is no longer the only option with the birth of streaming media companies. With the explosion of Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, HBO Max and many more, consumers can’t help but give in to the new trending path of television: streaming services.

The variety and choices made these services much more appealing than paying for cable, especially for the classic services like Netflix that have been around since the late 1990s/early 2000s. Not to mention how accessible it was. 

In the early 2010s, Netflix was only charging seven dollars for a huge platform of entertainment, and although their prices today have skyrocketed to almost $20 and the actual good content on there has decreased, many viewers have stayed loyal. In 2022, only about one million subscribers from the approximately 230 million subscribers were reported to leave the platform. Netflix created a cult-like fanbase in the 2010s, however with the new mess they have created, their subscribers are promising to leave behind their subscription because of Netflix’s new greed.

Senior Haley Harville, “I was honestly really upset about that, because Netflix, in this economy, is really expensive. I have a job, but even then, I don’t get paid enough to not feel the loss in my bank account.”

Starting near the end of this year, Netflix has announced to implement their plan to prevent password sharing. With a rise of streaming services to satisfy us, competition grows within the field and what better yet than to just regain profit, than by taking it out on the people who have supported them for so long? This new plan would operate by:

  • Making users enter a four digit code, sent to the email or phone number on the account, for every log-in under an unfamiliar household
  • The streaming service plans on identifying individual households by taking information including IP addresses, in order to detect what users trying to log on and whether they are from a different household, indicting password sharing is going on

This act is treacherous, not just to our wallets and because of the constant capitalist rage of these companies trying to out-profit each other, but it also raises the question of, how are these companies within their rights to do this? Tracking someone’s IP address isn’t illegal, it may seem a bit unethical but is very legal and allows Netflix to carry on without being in any unlawful hot water. However, that doesn’t erase the price gouging that Americans have experienced these past few years, and with Netflix’s platform quickly losing loved shows and canceling every single Netflix Original they come out with, I wouldn’t be fazed if the next trend on social media became people canceling their Netflix subscriptions.