Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) will integrate “social features” that will let users share their watched movies online.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has long desired its subscribers to connect their video accounts with Facebook and other social networks, but has been prohibited from doing so because of the Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits the company from disclosing information such as Video rentals. An amendment to the law was passed on Friday, this grants digital as opposed to written permission to users and thus makes it much easier for Netflix to go ahead with its social plans.
While social sharing is at present accessible outside the United States, it’s, in fact, illegal to do so here because the law requires a customer’s approval in order for the information to be shared anywhere. It was first introduced in 1988 and signed by then-President Reagan. Its intent was to prevent the “wrongful disclosure of video tape rental or sale records [or other similar audieo visual materials, to cover items such as video games and the future DVD format].”
The Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) supported and applauded the passing of this amendment, and it will be no surprise that it will move rapidly into this area. The alteration almost took on larger importance when Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) wanted to add a condition that would have required the Feds to first get hold of a warrant or show probable cause before seeing into Americans’ e-mail. That provision, however, was moved out from the amendment before it was passed.
A Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) spokesperson said in a statement, “We are pleased that the Senate moved so quickly after the House. We plan to introduce social features for our US members in 2013, after the president signs it.”
Leahy’s provision inclusion was actually a last-minute effort to transform the nature of privacy law in the U.S. It will be expected to return in some time next year. Netflix, in the meantime, just completed dealing with some drama of its own, having worked through a service outage that hit some customers on Christmas Eve.
The video companies like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Vudu and Blockbuster, will be able to share user data without any concern of being sued after the law is enacted. As of now, Hulu, which launched social sharing in 2011, and some others are struggling in court over the violation Video Privacy Protection Act, but with President Obama signing the new amendment these court battles could soon come to the end.