It is a violation of United States Federal Law 17 USC 106 to "share" our clients media on peer-to-peer "filesharing" programs like BitTorrent, uTorrent, Vuze and Frostwire or similar applications. These programs copy and distribute the files that they "share." A copyright means that the copyright owner has the sole right to determine who may copy and distribute the copyrighted works.
If you receieved a notice, then a computer located at the internet address that the notice is addressed to, has uploaded, downloaded or offered to distribute the copyrighted content detailed in the notice which clearly identifies the name and type of material, the time the offence occurrred, the IP Address and Port of the originating location.
The computer at issue is not authorized to distribute this content. Accordingly, any distribution is a violation of law. The content is owned by our customer and the customer has authorized us to monitor illegal sharing/distribution of this content.
It is the subscriber's responsibility to assure that his or her connection is being used lawfully. Specifically, to make sure that any wireless routers have passwords to prevent unauthorized access and that houseguests and family members are using the connection lawfully.
Rightscorp's software monitors the global Peer‐to‐ Peer (P2P) file sharing networks to seek out and find illegally downloaded digital media. On behalf of digital media copyright owners, and through major Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), we automatically send out copyright infringement and demand notices to those who have illegally downloaded digital media.
Infringers remit payment to Rightscorp, Inc. for the copyright infringement and Rightscorp makes payment to the copyright owners. Many infringers who do not pay are disconnected by their ISPs.
The problem is huge, there were 40 billion illegal downloads of music in 2008 and 12 billion illegal downloads of movies in 2009 alone. Rightscorp's technology system monitors the global Peer‐to‐Peer (P2P) file sharing networks and sends emails to ISPs using the notice format specified in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the date, time, song title and other specific technology identifiers to confirm the infringement by the ISP’s customer.
Under Federal Copyright Law, once the ISP has actual knowledge of copyright infringements that take place using its network, it has specific duties in relation to the enforcement of the rights of the owners of the material in question. Every ISP is required by law to enforce a policy that provides, in appropriate circumstances, for termination of internet service to subscribers who become repeat infringers.
Is Filesharing Illegal?
U.S copyright law, including the changes embodied in The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA,”) calls for substantial penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Under established statutory and case law, third parties that assist or are other wise involved in copyright infringement can have vast legal exposure as well. In the P2P context, an individual subscriber may be the “direct “ infringer of a copyright, but that subscriber’s activities are conducted over the ISP’s facilities. Accordingly, ISPs that become aware of illegal file-sharing over their networks, but that fail to take steps to mitigate it are at risk of liabilities large enough to put them out of business. That is why ISPs are serious about illegal P2P activity. They have to be.
The United States Code 17 U.S.C. 504. states as follows:
Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits (2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed wilfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000.
Obviously, ISPs want to avoid this type of liability. The DMCA gives ISPs a road map (often referred to as the “safe harbors”) that tells them what they must do to avoid being liable themselves for copyright infringement that is carried on by their subscribers. ISPs can take advantage of “safe harbour” benefits by helping Rightscorp contact individual subscribers and settle infringement issues with them.
The P2P Landscape
The most popular access tools are Limewire, BitTorrent and eMule and the most popular corresponding protocols being Gnutella, BitTorrent and eDonkey.
There are operating companies like Lime Group LLC that sell and market the Limewire access software and BitTorrent, Inc. that market and sell the BitTorrent software. Limewire was sued by the music industry and by Universal Music Group specifically.
A user downloads Limewire software or any number of other free Gnutella clients, installs it on their computer, and searches for a song. The Gnutella client sends a query to the Gnutella network and a list of all of the available versions of the song comes up. The user selects the version that they want. The Gnutella client sends a request for the song out to the network. The previous users who have downloaded the song have the song available on their computer for the next person who wants it. The Gnutella clients literally “talk amongst themselves” without any involvement from the user and the full song gets sent to the requested user in thousands of small pieces from thousands of individual computers. This is what makes it so fast.
The BitTorrent network works slightly differently. It requires that the user first locate a “torrent” file that contains the detail on the location of the computers that have the source files.
The industry has developed its own terminology. Seeders are people who have finished downloading 100% of a file and are sharing it for download. Leachers are people who are downloading the file and sharing a small part of it at the same time.
It is very important to grasp that in order to obtain rapid downloads; a user must allow their computer to upload to the network.
If It Is Illegal, Why Does It Continue?
Under FCC regulations, ISPs are not allowed to block specific types of network traffic. The idea being that if they are allowed to block peer-to-peer traffic, they could also block any type of content, religious or political, a violation of freedom of speech.
ISP's do have the obligation to assist copyright holders in their enforcement of their rights, but the ISPs cannot fullfill that obligation by simply blocking access to P2P traffic.
How it Works
Our technology system monitors the global Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks and sends emails to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the date, time, song title and other specific technology identifiers to confirm the infringement by the ISP’s customer.
Once the ISP is in possession of these facts, they forward the notice, or send a distinct notice, to their customer and to disconnect the services of repeat offenders when appropriate. Rightscorp, Inc. collects payments and makes remits to the copyright owner a percentage of these settlements.
Every mp3 file that is downloaded has at least two copyrights, a sound recording copyright and a publishing copyright. The publishing copyright is the right to use the song separate from the sound recording such as putting the song in a movie, re-recording the song or printing the lyrics and melody on sheet music. According to US law, copyright owners have the right to be paid when their copyrighted materials are used. We have an agreement with the recording artist, music label or music publisher who owns the copyright cited in the notice you received.
Our technology monitors the Internet all of the time looking for infringements. When a copyright is infringed upon, we receive the following data
Date and Time of infringement
Port (similar to the last four digits on your nine-digit zip code)
We send this data to the ISP in an automated computer format called XML. These emails are called “DMCA notices,” and they follow the format prescribed in subsection 512( c) of the DMCA. Though the format is the same (for other legal reasons), these notices should not be confused with “Takedown” notices. The ISP keeps “router logs” of all of the activity on their networks. When we send these notices, they cross-reference the data we send with their router logs. By doing this cross reference, the ISP knows which one of their customers was using the IP Address in question at the time and date specified. Due to the DMCA law as described above, they forward these notices to their customer on the customer’s email address. The notice comes to the customer from their ISP, not from Rightscorp, Inc.
The user who receives the notice, is liable for $150,000 in damages, but if they click on the link supplied by Rightscorp, they can enter a credit card and we will settle the matter between them and the copyright owner quickly and affordably.