What to Do if you Received a Piracy Warning From Your ISP

Discussion in 'Internet for Musician' started by SAiNT, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. SAiNT

    SAiNT Administrator Staff Member phonometrograph

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    Large numbers of Internet subscribers, mainly in the United States, have been taking to the Internet in recent months worried about piracy warnings sent to them by their ISPs. Despite much discussion of these online, questions continue to be asked. So, what should users do when they receive these scary emails?

    Millions of Internet subscribers use their connections to download and share copyright-infringing content. It’s been going on for almost two decades already and shows no sign of stopping.

    For the vast majority of users, this kind of activity has no consequences. People grab the latest movies or TV shows, for example, and then hear no more. For many, this means they simply carry on, oblivious to the fact that their unauthorized transfers are probably being monitored by someone, somewhere.

    In the majority of cases, this monitoring is simply for research purposes but increasingly, as content companies seek to reduce copyright infringement, further action might be the next step. That usually means that ISPs are contacted, with a request for them to tell their customers to stop pirating content.

    Copyright infringement notices
    The first time an Internet user realizes this has happened is when they receive correspondence from their ISP. This could potentially be a letter but it’s more likely to arrive in the form of an email, delivered to the account registered with the ISP.

    From reports posted online, this is where many users begin to panic. The idea they’ve been caught doing something illegal seems to prevent them from reading the notice slowly and taking in all the details. This is a fundamental mistake and one that should be immediately rectified in order to understand what’s happened and is likely to happen moving forward.

    Read the warning notice – and now read it again
    While notices sent to subscribers differ between ISPs, they are all very clear. They will explain what is alleged to have happened and when, who made the complaint, the content involved (movies, TV shows etc), and what the user should do next. They are designed to be easy to understand and when read calmly, they are.

    Generally, a notice will state that a subscriber’s Internet connection was allegedly used on a certain time and date to download and share copyright-infringing material. The notice will provide the IP address in use at the time and the name of the company that owns the rights to the content in question. It will also order the subscriber to prevent it from being shared again in the future.

    While notices can be sent in error, anecdotal evidence indicates that the majority are accurate. When that is the case, users should follow the instructions in the infringement email. They might include ensuring WiFi networks are secure, speaking with other people in the house who may have committed the infringement, and checking computers to ensure they aren’t infected with malware.

    In any event, subscribers who are required to respond to notices should take care not to incriminate themselves or others. For initial offenses, however, ISPs tend not to ask for feedback from the user so when that’s the case, no response needs to be provided.

    Demands in infringement notices
    In basic terms, most infringement notices are like speeding tickets but without the immediate cash fine. They are designed to be a warning and to prevent the same thing from happening again. When this is the case, the infringement notice makes that clear.

    If users are still downloading and sharing the same content in their torrent client (the source of most infringement notices) the notices demand that they remove that content immediately and never share it again. Carrying on sharing in the face of a warning could result in more notices being sent for the same ongoing infringement, with additional consequences we’ll come to later.

    Some ISPs also ask the account holder to fill in a questionnaire, which acknowledges that the subscriber has received the warning, understood it, and – in appropriate circumstances – has taken action to stop the infringement being repeated. Again, recipients should be cautious not to incriminate themselves but they are rarely asked to do so.

    Importantly, there is sometimes an opportunity to contest the infringement claim so if notices are erroneous, the subscriber might choose to file a counter-complaint after assessing the situation.

    Receiving no more notices is relatively simple
    While many users panic when receiving infringement notices from their ISP, in the majority of cases there is no need to worry. Stopping sharing the content in question usually solves the problem and if no additional sharing takes place, no further warnings should be received, for that content at least.

    However, those who disregard warning notices or fail to check the email address registered with their ISP (so they don’t know they’ve been receiving warnings), things can get complicated.

    Repeat infringers are at risk
    Subscribers whose Internet connections are used to infringe copyright on a number of occasions are now labeled ‘repeat infringers’. Under US law, this can turn into a more serious situation.

    As clarified in a recent case involving ISP Cox Communications, action must be taken by ISPs against those who keep on infringing, or they risk being held liable themselves. This has probably contributed to the increased volume of infringement notices being passed on to subscribers and the corresponding reports of them online.

    An article published by TF back in February reveals how Comcast deals with persistent pirates. Other ISPs will follow different processes but the basic idea is that if users keep on infringing, at some point they’ll be faced with consequences, possibly a suspension or even termination of their Internet connection.

    How can Internet users be sure never to receive a warning?
    The clearest and most foolproof piece of advice is that those who don’t share infringing files with others are the ones that never receive a notice. While some innocents do get sent notices in error, the safest approach is not to share infringing files using BitTorrent and similar peer-to-peer software. These transfers are public and can be tracked.

    However, as any file-sharing forum reader will know, plenty of pirates carry out their hobby on daily basis without ever receiving an infringement notice.

    The reasons for this are varied, but it usually boils down to people using streaming and/or direct download sites, or by protecting their BitTorrent connections with a VPN. Others are simply lucky or have chosen content that for some reason isn’t being monitored for infringements.

    Important: Not all infringement notices are benign
    In a relatively small number of cases, copyright holders aren’t interested in warning alleged pirates – they want to sue them and/or extract a cash settlement. When this is the case, correspondence received from a user’s ISP usually makes it clear that a copyright holder is trying to obtain their identity and personal details with a view to legal action.

    If users receive such a notice, immediate legal advice should be sought since there are no second chances. Under no circumstances should recipients ignore this type of ‘warning’ as doing so could potentially lead to an expensive default judgment.

    Conclusion
    Notices of infringement targeted at regular Internet subscribers in the US are usually issued for the purposes of a) stopping the current infringement and b) encouraging users to stop infringing in future.

    The decision to stop infringing (or carry on behind a VPN or similar) is obviously a personal choice but in 2018 it’s clear that being caught on multiple occasions puts ISPs in a position where they must take action, or face potential consequences themselves. No prizes for guessing who’ll get thrown under the bus when the pressure is on.

    None of the above should be construed as legal advice. If there is any uncertainty concerning the nature of an infringement notice, users should seek professional advice.

     
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  3. Legotron

    Legotron Rock Star

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    Never use public trackers for p2p
     
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  4. Vader

    Vader Producer

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    Stop using torrents, change DNS, get a strong no log VPN, block all ads, disable location, and if possible, set up a second router as a VPN gateway.
    You can also steal your neighbor Wifi !!!:bleh::bleh::bleh:
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  5. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    china isps are controlling by china communist party, they inspecting any internet users from china, and controlling their internet connections, stolen user data and privacy, blocking pages they dont want people to see, and use ddos to attacking other countries web, so people must use 3rd party vpn and double vpns to browsing sites, and refused by these sites due to safety considerations
     
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  6. uhub

    uhub Ultrasonic

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    I use Vpn, Torrent leecher, Premium Downloader, Ad blocker & Anti-virus :chilling:
     
  7. dcstoica

    dcstoica Newbie

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    Fight for you rights, and if not aware of them all and/or the details, google them!
     
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  8. Mykal

    Mykal AudioP2P

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    This why I only use FTP
     
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  9. midi-man

    midi-man Rock Star

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    Actually you should use SFTP.
     
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  10. WeRAllFosterChildren

    WeRAllFosterChildren Producer

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    Using a VPN is the best advice, mind your opsec and your sigint. Also, read your local laws, as well as your ISP's policies.

    As for legal weight, an IP address is not a lot of evidence in and of itself. The reason it is typically enough is because people admit to having done it, afraid of needing to defend themselves in court, so they take a slap on the wrists. Unless you admit to sharing, and/or there is more evidence than just your IP address, there is really not enough there to bust you or sue you.

    The bigger risk for most people is losing their ISP service. Just because you can legally get claims of infringement dismissed doesn't mean your ISP will be OK with it, they will take the course of least risk, and cancel your service. And in many regions, that one ISP might be your only option

    Personally, I think that all property is superstitious BS, and that "intellectual property" is even more preposterous. So I'd love to have a little time and resources to honeypot some of these asshole companies and slap them back. Spoof torrent hashes so that you can be part of the swarm while proving that neither uploaded nor downloaded any of their IP. Oops! Hosting shares with file names that sound like cracks, but are just a rar'ed video of somebody reviewing it.
     
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  11. Mykal

    Mykal AudioP2P

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    not a bad idea, looked in to it but that would require a days worth of coding and a reconfigure of servers and I way too lazy now days for all that, Why break what has been working for 15 plus years on my end. I get what I want ,when I want. no worries
     
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  12. Nana Banana

    Nana Banana Producer

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    I've received a couple. It happened a few years back. The first one I kinda panicked, but nothing came from it. Then a few months later I received another. Both were from a couple of movies I don't even have anymore. I remember googling the crap out of any consequences I could face, but they were both warnings only. Both were also from using public tracking torrents. Not sure if anyone ever heard of the site YTS I think it was, which has long been shut down. Suffice it to say, considering I rarely watch movies, TV, etc... I stopped downloading anything video years ago. Nothings happened since, and I would say it was about 5 or so years ago. I don't even use Torrents anymore, no need really. Thanks for the good post SAiNT, it brought me back in time...
    :mates:
     
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  13. realitybytez

    realitybytez Platinum Record

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    if you really want to download torrents in a way that is extremely fast and very difficult to trace back to you, sign up for a premium account at real-debrid and use a vpn from provider that does not keep logs. real-debrid allows you to enter a magnet link and then they present you with an encrypted download link. the torrent never passes through your computer. using the vpn is just a safeguard against linking the download back to you through timestamps.
     
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  14. tvandlover

    tvandlover Kapellmeister

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    The land of the free.
     
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  15. eXACT_Beats_

    eXACT_Beats_ Producer

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    So, SAiNT basically has it covered, but below is just my personal experience and the small bits of knowledge I have gleaned from more than a few years of stumbling around the internet.
    Though it dates me (slightly,) I remember when Napster came out. I say that in hopes to give a small amount of creedence to the fact I know my way around the block. That being said, I, personally, have had *many dealings with providers and the people they answer to (not the companes directly, they have smaller people who handle their affairs,) and there has never been anything, no matter how guilty I may or may not have been, that I didn't settle easily with a few, concise emails or sit-downs with people.

    *Below is just what I have gleaned from my interactions with providers and the people they answer to from the copright holders.*

    There are, to my knowledge, only two types. The first is more of a bluff, in which they send you a "Stop Doing Illegal Shit" warning which is basically the provider alerting you that you are using an unusual amount of data. Downloads aren't really a Red Flag due to streaming, but if they look into it, they will be able to see patterns that don't sync up with streaming. This is basically something that they are actually required to do. *They have no personal interest in your activities online.* Remember that. Many companies that release movies, music and other media approach the providers for information on any possible pyrates and, in addition, if any flagrant illegalities are spotted, the provider is obviously obligated to report it/them. Basically, your ISP are the cops, not the judge & jury. They are just patrolling, so anything that comes from them is relatively superflous.
    The second is one in which they have actually found that something with a trace on it or have found you in a flagged area and there are confirmed downloads from there; nowadays, the majority of those torrents (or, less often, direct downloads,) are new movies from large movie houses and music that has just been released.
    The first is a no-brainer. All I've ever done is either approach the provider--initially, pre-warning, or afterwards--when I first sign up and tell them that any large downloads or uploads are due to the fact that I transfer a lot of open files with high amounts of data due to the fact that they are uncompressed, open layered audio, video or graphic design work that I send back and forth to people who I am collaborating with. If you go in and talk to someone personally and tell them, *in heavy detail,* to make a note of all the technical shit that you do, they quickly lose interest and agree to put a digital note on your account that explains any crazy spikes in your usage or just an unusallylarge amount of uploads and downloads. Also, *make sure to let them know that you are not the sole user.* Simply tell them that you have peop[e over all the time and assure them that you try to monitor all of the goings-on in the house to the best of your ability but you often have people house-sit for you, study at your place, or....well, make up something that sounds legit. As I said, the providers have no investment in what you do online unless you are blatantly caught red-handed. So as so long as you allow your provider to either have a sit down with you (or email/mail correspondence, though, as I mentioned, I find it all goes *much smoother when you talk someone in-person,) *which fulfills their obligation,* you're golden.
    Even the companies/people who are looking for pyrates do not pay much attention to people who are illegally downloading anything. Contest this all you want, but I have spoken with people in-the-know, and, while they're not happy with the fact that people are kyping their product, the simple fact is, if thirteen thousand people download the newest Marvel installment on [insert pyrate site here,] they are not going to follow every damn trace and bring them to justice. This sort of manuever is costly to them, and despite what people say, *they actual have very little assurance that will win in a court of law.* Numerous cases over the years have been tossed straight out of court, never had any follow-through, or, and this is a real thing, they decided not to pursue any action because there was insignificant evidence--this often meaning the court/judge isn't even savvy enough to see the data they have as *solid evidence* of a crime. It is *etremely* rare that anyone goes to court or even gets more than a slap on the wrist for illegally downloading anything. Why? The news never covers people getting busted (even if it is in large numbers,) for pyratng nowadays because as the companies have come to realize that advertising the fact that people have been prosecuted does absolutely *nothing* to detour other people from doing the same.
    The people that these companies are interested in are the uploaders. Prosecution for this *is a real thing and uploaders *are* targets.
    That being said, the people I've known who got popped for this *still didn't have to go through some arduous court dealings. Of the six people I know (*All Uploaders,* no downloading charges, though they did get caught downloading as well,) only one made a court appearance, which was basically just for a show of force, something to scare her into submission, and she, like the others, got slapped with a fine....which none of them paid. When the fines went unpaid, they then got sent to collections after anywhere between 6-24 months and of those people, four of them had their collections debt wiped due to the fact that collections agencies that the fines are sent to, which aren't dictated by the companies, as it is the courts issue at that point, went out of business or gave up. And yes, that is a real thing. I have one debt wiped due to a company going under and another wiped because they after a certain amount of time, they just chalk it up to a loss (which isn't really a loss because they can write it off....anyway, that's another story.
    Sorry for the novelette, but the long and short of it is, yes, use any means possible to stay in the proverbial shadows, but, if for some reason shit goes south and you find yourself being pestered, remember that it is never as dire as they make it seem. They are not going to waste their time and money pursuing a lawsuit against someone whose net worth is laughable (you can't get blood from a stone, and all that,) just for downloading the new Lil' Whoever album.
    Read up on the above mentioned tactics and be smart. Selah.

    [None of the above should be construed as legal advice. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. Studies have shown viewing this page causes cancer in laboratory rats. I am not responsible for anything that may happen from using this problem solving system. If this were an actual emergency, this broadcast would be followed by official information and instructions.]
     
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  16. midi-man

    midi-man Rock Star

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    If you used Linux it would be a simple conf edit.
     
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  17. bluerover

    bluerover Audiosexual

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    Use IPVanish or NORD VPN. The most important part of the VPN software is to make sure that it has a "killswitch" option. IPVanish definitely does, and I think NORD deos as well.
     
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  18. Mykal

    Mykal AudioP2P

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    True but like i said.. I have FTP with full axx to many Top sites ,no need to break what is not broken
     
  19. wasgedn

    wasgedn Rock Star

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    :rofl:
     
  20. farao

    farao Platinum Record

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