This site was created to help you better understand the notification youíve received with regards to copyright infringement. We may not have all the answers here, and if you are still needing answers, please feel free to send us a message and we will see if we can answer it.
Letís start with the basics:
What is a copyright?
A copyright as defined by Dictionary.com is:
ďThe exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.Ē
Ultimately a copyright is a legal concept which gives a person exclusive rights to distribute and use, something they created.
What is a Copyright Infringement?
A copyright infringement as defined by US Copyright Office at Copyright.gov is:
ďAs a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.Ē
Why did I get a Notification of Copyright Infringement?
Golden West Internet Solutions receives notification of said infringement from different monitoring agencies, this information is readily available to you within the notification you received. Once we are notified, we search our records to determine who was connected with the IP address we were provided by the agency. From there, we notify the customer of the infringement in order to make them aware of the situation.
How do you know that I am the one who did this?
When the agency in question contacts us, they give us the IP address they detected downloading, or uploading the files, and they send us that IP address. We search our system and verify what username(email address) was tied to the IP address at that time. From there, we determine who is responsible for that email account and make contact with them.
I searched my computer, but did not find the file, I think you have the wrong person!
We get this a lot, and the reality is, it is possible that it was a different computer on the network. As was stated above, we search for the IP the company gives us and beyond the modem the IP was assigned to, we cannot tell what computer or device within your personal network downloaded the information. We do know however what connection it came from, and that is why you are receiving this notification.
What kind of trouble am I in, if any?
This depends upon a lot of different factors. The only way the notification agencies can get your personal information is to subpoena it from us. It is at the sole discretion of these agencies as to whether they will pursue legal action.
Per the Golden West Acceptable Use Policy found here, http://www.goldenwest.com/Acceptable-Use-Policy, any use of our services for unlawful purposes could result in suspension or even termination of your service. It is in your best interest to avoid illegal downloading of copyrighted material.
Am I going to get sued?
This is a difficult question to answer, and really carries with it the same answer as the previous question. Again, the only way the notification agencies can get your personal information is to subpoena it from us. It is at the sole discretion of these agencies as to whether they will pursue legal action.
It is important to note that while we may suspend or terminate your service, Golden West will not pursue legal action in regards to suing a customer over an issue such as this.
I paid for the program I used to download the file, why am I getting this notification?
There are many different types of software for sharing, downloading and purchasing software. There are quite a few of these who seem to promise something too good to be true, best rule of thumb, they are just that. There are companies out there who have put out software stating you can download as much as you want after purchasing the program, the problem here is that you are purchasing the program, NOT the copyright licenses for what you are downloading. You have to be very careful, and read the fine print, most often you are not getting what you think you are when paying. When it comes to legal sources for downloading music, movies, etc. most often you will pay for these things individually, and you are not purchasing the file, you are purchasing the rights to use the file.
The most common types of programs used to share and download copyrighted material are Peer-To-Peer (P2P) networks such as Limewire, Kazaa, BearShare, Napster, Frostwire and so on. There are also Torrenting programs, which are also P2P based systems, but are used most often for much larger files, these programs include such names as uTorrent, ABC, BitTorrent, Azureus/Vuze, BitLordÖ the list goes on and on.
Most importantly, READ THE FINE PRINT, KNOW what you are paying for, YOU are responsible.
What is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network/protocol?
A Peer-To-Peer network is a grouping of computers, normally across a wide area network (the internet) in which the computers who are members can act as both a client and a server. What this means is any computer on the network can host, or distribute a file, and at the same time, it can get files from other computers on that network. To do this, the computer has to have one of many different programs known as file-sharing software, these can be programs like Limewire, Kazaa, BearShare, Napster, and Frostwire and so on, there are many programs out in the world that connect you to a Peer-to-peer network.
Ultimately, when they were first created they were intended for good, people, however, have made them work for the worse. They were initially instituted to create an ease of file sharing on files that were not copyrighted, to make it faster, and easier to share things like presentations, or personal pictures. People began using them right away, however, to share copyrighted information, and have since sullied the name. You need to be very careful with them, as they can share information on your computer. Say for instance, you purchased a song on a program like iTunes, and you save that file to a folder on your computer, you have a legal right to have that file. Now, letís say you have a program on your computer, for this example, Limewire, and in your Limewire share folder is where that song went. Well, people can search for that song file, and since it is in your share folder, they can download that song from you. Because you shared that file out, even perhaps unknowingly, you are now responsible for an illegal copyright infringement. Often times these things occur in the most innocent of instances, but the fact is, you are legally liable for anything that occurs on your internet connection.
What is a torrent?
The term torrent has been used a few times thus far in this FAQ and we need to briefly touch on what it is. A torrent is a P2P file share much the same as normal Peer-To-Peer network, but with some slight changes. They are most often geared toward much larger files, and they are searchable outside the torrenting software, so the open web. Again, they are not illegal themselves, however, they are often used for illegal purposes.
What is a MP3, AVI, MP4, etc?
These are all file types, and honestly the abbreviations are endless. In the infringement notice your receive it will tell you the file name, with the associated extension as they are called, but it will also tell you what type of file it is, be it audio, video, image, text and so on.
I wasnít home or was asleep at the time listed, how did this happen?
If you are absolutely certain you nor anyone in your home downloaded the file, the next place to look is your wireless security. If you have wireless in your home, either supplied by a wireless router, or one of our modems and the security is not enabled, or youíve given out the password, this may need to be remedied. People often can drive up outside your home and hijack your wireless signal and use it to download files or surf the web, the problem is, you are still responsible for it.
We advise having a secure password, a minimum of 8 digits, consisting of both letters and numbers, using capital and lowercase, and possibly a symbol or two. You can set this up, or change it in the modem or router and should you require assistance, please feel free to contact the Help Desk by dialing either 611 from your Golden West phone, or toll free 866-833-6683 and they will be able to assist you.
If you have given out the password to neighbors, friends, childrenís friends and so on, you might want to consider changing it, and make sure you know what your internet is being used for if others are using it.
How do I know if my wireless is secure?
Honestly, if you donít know, the likelihood is that it is not secure, contact the Help Desk and they can check for you.
You can contact the Help Desk by dialing either 611 from your Golden West phone, or toll free at 866-833-6683.
Will I get in trouble if I donít secure my wireless?
This is somewhat of a loaded question, the truth is, we canít tell you if you will or not. It is your choice what you do with your physical internet connection, and if you donít want a password, we wonít force you to have one, but again, YOU are legally responsible for what happens on your connection.
Will I get in trouble if I cannot find and delete the file on my computer?
If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the file is not present on your computer, there are other places to check. Verify your wireless is secure, check kidís computer, and devices, search everything you can and make sure you get rid of the file, or if you know you paid for it, move it to a different place that isnít shared on your computer.
I believe my kids may have downloaded this, is there anything I should look for specifically?
First things first, search all the computers and devices in your home for the file, then look for any program like those listed above, and uninstall them, stop sharing and downloading as soon as possible to help avoid legal repercussions.
Ultimately, it is your connection; you are legally and financially responsible for it, so it falls on your shoulders to take care of this. We cannot reprimand your children for you, or even ask that you do.
How can I stop family members from downloading files?
We really are not experts when it comes to something like this, but it is important to remember that you are legally and financially responsible for it, so it falls on your shoulders to take care of this.
I own a business and provide free wireless to my customers, I shouldnít be held responsible for what they download!
Ultimately, it is your connection; you are legally and financially responsible for it, so it falls on your shoulders to take care of this. The best thing you can do is protect yourself, and this can be difficult, especially in a setting such as this, customers will come to expect the Free WiFi as you have likely advertised it. The best advice we can give is to look into ways of securing the connection. We do make some options readily available to our subscribers, and even outside companies, so if you want to do further research, please give us a call and we can go over your options.
If you have further questions, and they are not answered here, please donít hesitate to contact us either by email, or by phone.
Golden West Internet Solutions
2727 N. Plaza Drive
Rapid City, SD 57702
800-763-2525 ext. 3565