NETFLIX viewers are facing a tough new crackdown by the streaming giant which threatens to switch off access.
UK users are starting to be sent emails threatening punishment for sharing passwords, even family members.
A quarter of the California, US-based firm's 15m British subscribers are thought to now be in their sights, having been left in the clear for years.
Netflix's most popular standard package, at £10.99 per month, allows people to watch via two supported devices whether a TV, laptop or mobile phone.
Another £15.99-per-month deal permits households to use four separate gadgets at the same time, even if the viewers are spread across different parts of the world.
This has allowed students living away from home to share their parents' accounts – and also meant the children of separated parents could tune in at both homes.
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Yet Netflix – whose most popular series include Stranger Things and The Crown – now seems newly-determined to put a stop to the practice.
One person receiving a stern email from the firm was Nick James, who told the Guardian of being warned off allowing his sister-in-law to keep sharing his password as she has been doing for several years.
He received an email from the company saying: “Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with – your household."
Mr James was offered the option of adding his sister-in-law to his account, but at the cost of an extra £4.99 each month.
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The main targets are believed to be account-holders whose extra users have been logging on via a smart TV or else using Fire Sticks or similar gadgets to connect to a television.
Netflix suggested there would be more leeway for students watching on their laptops and mobiles at halls of residence while their parents tune in elsewhere.
And password sharers who all watch on mobile devices have reportedly also not yet been targeted.
Netflix said it defined a household as “a collection of the devices connected to the internet at the main place you watch Netflix”.
It also insisted any new crackdown should not affect travel, so subscribers can continue to tune in "on your portable devices or sign in to a new TV, like at a hotel or a holiday rental".
People living in two places – such as the children of separated parents or those with second homes – have been told to make sure they log in to Netflix once a month at their account's designated "home" address.
The firm also insisted anyone allowing their password to be shared would not be punished – but the apparent beneficiaries would now lose viewing access.
Subscribers have also recently been told they will lose access to a series of popular movies and series from next month.
Franchises such as Austin Powers, Resident Evil, Kindergarten Cop, and Chappelle's Show will all leave the service in July.
Both the Bad Boys films will also be chopped from the site, which includes both the 1995 original and the sequel Bad Boys II.
The second instalment was made in 2003 and also starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Netflix was itself dealt a blow this week when losing one of their major show creators to a rival.
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Ryan Murphy has been poached by Disney+ in a rumoured $300m deal, having given Netflix hit shows such as The Watcher and Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
His other fan-favourite series include Glee and American Horror Story.
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