Peer to Peer Apps and DMCA Copyright Notices
Are you at risk? Watch this video to find out.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the No Electronic Theft Law (NET Act), and other federal laws make copyright infringement both a criminal offense and provides for civil penalties. You can be prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued for damages in civil court. Criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be as high as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Civil penalties can run into many thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.
I just received a DMCA copyright infringement notice. Why did I receive it?
If you received a DMCA copyright infringement notice, it is because LMU was notified by a copyright holder or its agent that a particular IP address found on LMU's network was distributing copyrighted material. LMU traced the IP address to you and you were notified as per LMU's DMCA notice procedures. It is important to note that you were notified not because you downloaded a particular file, but because your computer is sharing copyrighted files with others on the Internet most likely through peer-to-peer applications such as KaZaA, BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Bearshare, Frostwire, iMesh, Vuze or another P2P app.
What is P2P?
P2P stands for peer-to-peer and is a type file sharing. The term refers to a computing network in which participants exchange files with other participants. P2P has long been used for the illegal sharing of copyrighted material like movies, music and software because P2P programs make it easy to find and download copyrighted material for free.
How does P2P work?
P2P applications allow you to search for, download, and upload files through a desktop program. P2P networks operate with the understanding that members share what they have in return for what they want. In exchange for being able to download files from the network, you are expected to make files available to other members of the network. In a P2P, your computer may act as a source of content for the other computers and users on the network.
What is P2P Uploading?
Because P2P networks rely on their members to supply files, P2P programs contain features that allow internet users to access files stored on your computer. Such activity may occur without you being aware that it is happening. These features are often turned on by default and by not turning them off, you may inadvertently share your legally acquired materials with any member of the P2P network.
What are the risks of using P2P software?
Accepting files from people you do not know exposes your computer to attacks. You may open your computer to malicious programs such as: trojan horses, worms, and viruses which can harvest information from you and exploit you computer. These files often tag along with other legitimate files or may appear to be legitimate until you attempt to open them. You should also be aware that organizations such as the RIAA and the MPAA monitor P2P networks and sometimes upload content to P2P networks in order to identify users who download copyrighted materials.
What kind of notices do copyright holders send out?
Copyright holders and organizations that represent copyright holders, such as the RIAA and MPAA, typically send out three different types of communications related to copyright infringement:
• Cease and desist, or copyright infringement, notices – The purpose of these notices is to stop the illegal possession and distribution of copyrighted material.
• Pre-litigation notices – These letters are used by copyright holders and their representatives prior to filing a lawsuit to recover, by way of a settlement, financial damages caused by the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
• Subpoenas – These notices indicate that the copyright holder has filed a lawsuit to recover damages for the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
How does LMU know that it was me and not someone else sharing copyrighted material?
LMU has logs that allow it to locate who was using a specific IP at the time of the alleged sharing. These logs, along with the user registration that every user must complete, allow LMU to associate the IP address to the user. If you received a notice, then a computer registered in your name has been irrefutably associated to the public IP address in the DMCA copyright infringement notice that our designated representative received.
What will it cost me to use P2P?
Every year, users across the U.S. receive copyright infringement notices from organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America because they have illegally exchanged files on the internet, often times using P2P software. Some of these users have paid thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits related to copyright infringement. Sometimes no more than the downloading or uploading of a single song is grounds for legal action. U.S. federal law treats copyright infringement, including copyright infringement that occurs on P2P networks, as a serious offense that carries serious consequences. Civil penalties may include actual damages and loss profits ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work (Song, Movie, or Software) that is infringed. The court can also award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and substantially increase the damages in the case of a willful copyright infringement. Criminal penalties can include fines and up to five years of imprisonment.
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