Your shared Netflix password is safe, the CEO says

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
Getty Images

Let's all breathe a sigh of relief: If you share a Netflix password, you won't be forced into paying for your own separate account yet, the CEO said on Monday.

"In terms of [password sharing], no plans on making any changes there," co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings said during the company's third-quarter earnings webcast. "Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there's so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids .... so there's no bright line, and we're doing fine as is."

Hastings' reiteration of Netflix's stance comes amid a rumor making the rounds on social media. A ruling by a federal appeals court did make the act of sharing passwords a federal crime, Money magazine reported this summer. But the ruling is designed to target "hacking," not ordinary conduct, a judge on the case wrote at the time, according to Money.

Indeed, Netflix's standard plan allows watching on two screens at the same time, while its premium plan allows four screens of simultaneous play.

But if you use a virtual private network (VPN) to access content that's not available in your country, your workaround may not stay intact for long, Hastings said.

"I think we've been very successful in finding technological ways of inhibiting the cross-border VPNs," Hastings said. "Like I had mentioned, we didn't win the bidding for the [rights to] the Disney movies in the U.K., so it's clearly not fair to allow our U.K. subscribers to watch the Disney from Canada or the U.S. So we've found, with the help of the studios, some more technology to enforce their rights."

If you're in that category, Hastings assured that Netflix is trying to get global rights to its content.

"Then it's available to everyone, which is clearly what consumers want," Hastings said.