Sharing Netflix passwords has become somewhat of a meme at this point — whether you share an account with family, friends, or even an ex — chances are that the tactic has saved users a lot of money over the years.

That, however, may change soon. In a move that’s drawn ire across social media, streaming giant Netflix has announced a ‘test’ that will charge users a fee for sharing passwords.

How Will The Netflix Fee Work?

Instead of phasing out the change across all markets, Netflix will initially test the idea parts of South America, namely Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. 

Adding an extra subscriber will cost 2,380 Chilean Pesos, or $2.97; $2.99 in Costa Rica; and 7.9 Peruvian Sol, or about $2.11; this averages out to just over Rs. 200. The company said it will take time to evaluate results in the three countries before considering a wider rollout.

The change seems somewhat inevitable, considering that the 222-million strong subscriber count of Netflix still has nowhere to go but up. While the streaming service cranked up prices in North America, it has implemented strategic price cuts in growing markets such as India, slashed by upto 60 percent.

Password sharing, while common, is actually forbidden in Netflix’s terms of service — not that anyone without a legal degree has ever read them. 

In a blog post, product innovation director Chengyi Long wrote that Netflix has “always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our standard and premium plans.”

She added that functionality has “created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, accounts are being shared between households — impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members.”

While the exact loss in revenue for Netflix isn’t clear, the news was enough to spark a reaction on social media, where several users proudly called upon the inexpensive joys of piracy.

Hopefully, Netflix’s ‘test run’ might prove unsuccessful. With South America boasting one of the highest digital piracy rates in the world, we’re leaning on the side of cautiously pessimistic.

(Featured Image Credits: Unsplash)