DStv will limit streaming and account sharing from 22 March 2022. Is this unilateral ‘rules of use policy' change by the broadcaster even legal?

DStv recently published a notice stating it will limit DStv accounts to only one streaming device at a time. This change takes effect on 22 March 2022.

In the past numerous devices could stream using one DStv password but the broadcaster says that the change will help them to counteract a problem of password sharing and piracy. Numerous online blog and community forums have speculated on the legality of DStv changing the rules of use, particularly where a contract is in place.

The unilateral change in DStv contracts might not be permissible in normal circumstances, but DStv has a clause in its online terms and conditions stating that the client will be bound to amendments as they are implemented from time to time. Although such clauses are legal, their retrospective application to terms and conditions accepted by existing clients may be investigated by the courts in the future. This means that it could be debated that the online terms and conditions at the time of sign-up will be considered binding, and any changes brought to those will need to be consented to by existing clients.

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