I have represented a number of defendants in cases involving claims that they illegally downloaded a movie, video, music, or software. The following outlines the process involved in these illegal downloading cases and what to do about them if you find yourself defending claims that you illegally downloaded copyrighted material.
Illegal Download Lawsuit Process
The following steps are the typical process for “John Doe” defendants in an illegal download case:
- You get an internet connection.
- You or someone with access to your internet connection downloads a movie, video, or music using torrent software (like BitTorrent, µTorrent, Xunlei, Vuze or BitComet), a web browser, or other internet downloading software (Kazaa, Bearshare, LimeWire, etc.).
- The company that owns the copyright to the illegally downloaded material (“copyright owner”) identifies your internet connection’s IP address either by (a) using torrent software to connect to your torrent software or (b) getting a list of IP addresses from the website you downloaded from by getting a court order for that website to release it’s IP log files.
- The copyright owner files a lawsuit in federal district court.
- The copyright owner gets a subpoena ordering your internet service provider (ISP) to provide your name and contact information based the IP logs. The IP logs connect the illegally downloaded material to an IP address, and your ISP can connect that IP address to you because it was assigned to your internet connection at the exact time of the illegal downloads.
- The copyright owner sends you a letter threatening legal action unless you pay a settlement amount (usually $2,500 to $4,500).
- You either (a) consult with an attorney, (b) ignore the threat and hope it goes away, (c) negotiate a lower settlement amount, or (d) pay the settlement amount demanded by the copyright owner.
- If you did not settle the claims, either you get sued or the copyright owner decides it is not worth suing you.
Illegal Movie Download Defense Tips
The following are a few practical tips to consider if you find yourself as a “John Doe” defendant in a lawsuit involving claims that you illegally downloaded a video, movie, or music:
- You can generally negotiate the settlement amount. You do not need to accept their first offer.
- Owners of copyrighted porn know that people are more likely to pay money to settle porn download lawsuits than other illegal download lawsuits simply to avoid the embarrassment of being listed in a federal lawsuit claiming you downloaded porn. This means downloading porn illegally is statistically more risky than downloading other copyrighted material.
- Fighting a subpoena that attempts to reveal your identity is a waste of money because you will reveal your identity by fighting it.
- The cost of fighting a case would far exceed the cost of every settlement I have negotiated.
Defenses Against Alleged Piracy
There are a number of legal defenses to consider, including these:
- The court where the lawsuit is located may have no jurisdiction over you.
- You should not be liable for the copyright infringement of another simply because that person used your internet connection to download illegal material without your knowledge or consent.
- In torrent or BitTorrent cases, you cannot be liable for unauthorized copying (copyright infringement) when the copyright holder made the copyrighted material available to you with torrent software.
Downloading without Seeding a Torrent
I was recently asked whether it is possible for a copyright owner to sue someone for distributing a movie when all he did was download it with torrent software. The answer is yes. The nature of torrents is that you are sharing parts of the file while you download even though you are not seeding it. Thus, they can sue you for sharing a movie even though you have not seeded it.
Speak With A Piracy Defense Attorney
If you’ve been accused of illegally “pirating” software, music, games or movies, the most important tip of all may be to get help from a copyright lawyer. An experienced internet copyright attorney.
- can analyze your particular circumstances, legal options, and legal defenses;
- understands copyright infringement law; and
- understands the technology and defenses in illegal movie download cases.
I am happy to represent clients in negotiating a settlement. Since these cases are federal copyright claims, the state where the case is brought does not typically matter for purposes of settlement. Typical settlement negotiations involve legal fees of $450 to $750 and a settlement amount is typically $2,000 to $2,500.
Companies Behind the Movie Download Cases
A couple companies have gained a reputation for being very aggressive in bringing legal action for illegal movie downloading and copyright infringement: Patrick Collins, Inc. and the US Copyright Group.
Patrick Collins, Inc.
Patrick Collins, Inc. is a pornography studio in Canoga Park, California. Patrick Collins, Inc. is also known as Elegant Angel Productions. The company was started by pornographic movie director Patrick Collins.
US Copyright Group
The US Copyright Group (UCSG) is operated by the Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver law firm. This firm also operates SaveCinema.org. US Copyright Group has brought copyright infringement suits against people for allegedly illegally downloading movies using torrent software.
Responding to an Attorney’s Cease and Desist Letter
If you have been sent a cease and desist letter or demand letter from an attorney regarding copyright infringement, you should contact an attorney to protect your legal rights. A letter from a lawyer likely means that there is at least some evidence that you violated the law (or someone with access to your internet connection). Failure to respond could result in serious legal consequences to you.
My name is Aaron Hall, I’m an attorney. Occasionally I get asked questions about copyright infringement. In fact, in the last few years I’ve had a lot of questions from people who have downloaded videos, often they’re pornographic, often they’re on torrent software, and they’ve received a letter, either from their ISP, which is their internet service provider, or from the copyright holder. Typically, the letter says either we’re going to release your information to the copyright holder if you don’t bring legal action or we, as the copyright holder, have obtained your information from the internet service provider and we’re aware that you’ve downloaded, or perhaps even made available for others to download, copyrighted information.
Now, what a lot of people who use torrent software don’t realize is while you’re downloading the video, your software is also making that video available for upload to others. The fact that you’re both downloading and uploading changes you from just a consumer to a distributor. If you think about drug laws, it’s a bigger deal to be a dealer of drugs than just a consumer of drugs. That’s kind of how the copyright holders look at it when they’re dealing with copyright infringement. If you’re actually making videos available, that’s a bigger deal. If you made money off it, that’s a bigger deal.
So what do you do about this? Typically, when I talk with a client, I want to find out a few things right away. Are you a celebrity? Do you have a prominent job? Do you have something where public shame would have an especially painful effect or expensive effect on your ability to bring in income? Second, are you an average middle class person, or somebody with substantial assets? These days the copyright holders are scanning the internet background databases, social media, to try to find people who have downloaded … Or, first, they have a list. They start out and they have a list of people who have downloaded illegally. They then scour all these databases and social media sites to find out if those people are on there and if there’s somebody who’s wealthy, prominent, or otherwise might be willing to pay out a large settlement, and then they target those.
First, are you somebody famous? Do you have significant assets? The other question of course too is did you actually do it? I need to find that out from my clients, because if you didn’t, we have some very strong defenses available. I one time had a grandma who didn’t know how to do anything more than her iPad and she didn’t have torrent software. She didn’t even know what it was and she certainly wasn’t downloading the videos that were at issue in this case. Now, did somebody else? Yeah, probably, using her internet service provider, using her internet connection. I don’t know if it was grandkids, I don’t know if it was friends or if it was neighbors or a hacker. The bottom line though is she didn’t do it and that’s a really strong defense.
We’re assessing what are the risk factors initially, and then typically I’ll talk with my clients about doing some sort of settlement. Now, I’ve seen settlements anywhere from $7,000 to about $1,200, and it really depends on the factors. It depends on the company and how aggressive they are. It depends on how often the downloading occurred. Did it occur multiple times? Are there hundreds of videos? Were you a distributor? All of these factors come into play when we’re trying to negotiate a settlement.
If you need help with this, and I do recommend you work with an attorney if you’re going to negotiate, I’d be happy to talk with you. We charge standard rates for that service and I can walk with you through what are the factors in your particular situation, what are the risks, and then start the negotiation process. All in, you’re typically looking at about two to $3,000 in legal fees. I’m sorry, not just legal fees, that would also include the settlement. But it gives you an idea on what you’re looking at as far as costs. Now, I have seen them go for less. I’ve also seen them go for lower, but that gives you at least a sense.
I’m Aaron Hall. For additional information. Feel free to click the link below.
I received an email from my internet provider stating – Re: Notice of Unauthorized Use of Registered Copyrights Owned by Elegant Angel Inc Case #: P12358388 “This notice is intended solely for the primary KMTelecom internet service account holder. Someone using this account has engaged in the illegal copying and/or distribution of pornographic movies. This notice may contain the titles of those movies, and therefore may contain text that is offensive to some readers.” “You may also be held liable for monetary damages, including attorney’s fees and court costs if a lawsuit is commenced against you. You have until Wednesday, May 9, 2012 to access the settlement offer and settle online. To access the settlement offer please visit copyrightsettlements.com and enter Case #: P12358388 and Password: ynbqv. To access the settlement offer directly please visit copyrightsettlements.com/?u=P12358388&p=ynbqv.”
My internet provider instructed me to NOT respond to the email or to click on the links. Do I need a legal consult at this time? Should I simply wait it out and see what happens?
This sounds like a demand prior even to a motion for discovery for Elegant Angel (a.k.a. Patrick Collins, Inc.), a pornography studio business.
The ISP’s advice sounds sensible about avoiding contact, especially without clear knowledge of the case and situation. Contact with these types of plaintiffs has led to defendants having words turned against them, though they may be innocent.
There are some information sites for John Does who are the targets of these types of allegations. They include:
Educating yourself about these issues is important even when getting professional guidance. Unfortunately, the bad intent of the trolling schemes requires some work to get the picture. These schemes are money grabbing schemes disguised as copyright “defense”.
This is for discussion purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
I noticed you are not at present listed on the EFF subpoena defense resources page. If it is helpful to have more clients in these type of cases, many Does look at that list early in their search for help.
(I have no horse in this race but have seen innocent friends ensnared in these schemes.)
I have put together two posts over at fightcopyrighttrolls.com regarding the Lightspeed Media Corp., lawsuit pending in St. Clair county. This blog is getting pounded with Does who are looking for news, views and representation regarding this matter. Please feel free to drop by and comment.
Recently, I’ve had Mark Borghese send me an email about cease and desist, and told me that I’d be hearing from his lawyer. I’m not sure what I should do in this case. Is it safe to wait it out, or to take action?
In general, receiving a cease and desist letter is an important event, so you should retain an attorney to advise you on your legal rights and options.
Going off what Andrew mentioned before, I also received a message from mark telling me I owe a certain amount also, and I in no way distributed anything. Same advice to consult my attorney on this matter? Thank you
A letter from a lawyer likely means that there is at least some evidence that you violated the law (or someone with access to your internet connection). Failure to respond could result in serious legal consequences, so I do recommend you consult with an attorney.
Hi, I just was sent an email from Mark Borghese. It was a demand letter for $1500. I am not going to deny that I had the material up for access through a filesharing program that allows access to members that you allow access to and which was set to access more folders that I should have had it set for, but I am not in a position where I can afford that kind of money since I do not have a job right now. What should I do?
I’m not sure what to tell you except to consult with an attorney. As you know, like any legal violation, you should not ignore it.
I just got a letter from my ISP provider stating that they got a subpoena for copyright infringement from my ISP address. I did have roommates at the time. Also I have proof that I was not present at my house when this occurred. What can I do?
The following article was on CNN today. http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/18/tech/web/copyright-alert-system/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5
Is it unfair to those whom have been informed by their ISP that a subpoena has been served, to start warning others now?
I received a notice on an instance of copyright infringement by my ISP, so I went to check it out only to find there were 5 notices (4 of them were for the same title). I did download both titles, but never distributed or made any copies of the material. Settlement options have been given to me, and I am considering them. What advice can you give pertaining to the 4 four notices for the same title?
After Comcast letters of warning I received a settlement letter from a NuImage attorney for copyright infrigement of the move”Conan”( non porn, I presume.)Not only have I never downloaded any movie, the IP address stated is not mine. I do have a wireless router with only my wife and I living at our home.Does the non-matching IP address suggest that I should just wait and see if they sue?
The current trend in copyright infringement cases are the “John Doe” defendants. Generally, the holder of the protected material will file a suit against hundreds, or even thousands, of defendants at once. This process, although controversial, has found support by some within the legal community. It is possible that you received this letter by mistake; however, the fact that the IP addresses are different is not conclusive proof “Conan” wasn’t downloaded on your network. Since you have already received warning letters, we would suggest you contact an experienced internet copyright attorney immediately.
I just received a demand letter ($3500) from satellite TV provider Dishnet. They claim that I subscribed to an internet service that provides access codes to electronically enable a satellite receiver to receive their copyrighted TV channels.
In order for Dishnet to prevail at court, do they have to show proof that I owned a satellite receiver and actually used the access codes for their intended purpose?
Can anyone give an update on a Borghese case? I got a cease and desist for several thousand and while the ISP looks similar to mine, I don’t recognize the videos in question at all.
I recieves a comast letter from Voltage Pictures, Inc. a.k.a., “the Hurt Locker case” If I completly ignore this letter..What are the negatives of this move? And if the matter lies in being sued! How bad will the sue be?
I leave my wifi access totally unsecured. I just don’t have anything to hide and I like to allow people, strangers and neiighbors nearby to access the internet. I don’t feel I need to lock my doors on my house either. Same goes for my car, I leave the keys in it while it is parked in the front of my residence. I am at liberty to live how i wish. Why should I allow myself this paranoid view of the world e.g. that I should live in fear? Or, that my residence is a prison cell and should be locked down. The internet isn’t property that I am responsible for, I am not going to provide security or be the bouncer.
So if the file is available for torrent it’s not illegal to torrent it?
Just because a file is available to be copied, doesn’t mean it is legal to copy that file. That includes files available by torrent or otherwise. If you don’t have the copyright owner’s permission to make the copy, such as by buying the software, music, movie, or book, then the copying is illegal.
Could one argue that the ‘trolls’ on these bit torrent sites are conducting illegal searches and seizures to garner information/evidence on these persons whom are ‘pirating’ movies, music, video games, software, etc.? And also while there more than likely are trolls on these sites, could entrapment be used as a good defense as well?
What if I purchased the material (blu-ray/dvd disk) and wanted a digital copy but none was included with the disk pack? I suppose downloading the material through torrent download would still be illegal?
Can they search my computer looking for something illegal? Has this ever happened? Otherwise I don’t see how they could prove anything. My router was not secure and anyone in the area could have used my connection as a hot spot for downloading.
Universal Pictures presents a Chris Meledandri production “The Google Movie” Steve Carell Sarah Drew Liam Neeson Damon Wayans, Jr. Charlie Adler Tom Kenny with Josh Duhamel and Anthony Hopkins production designer Yarrow Cheney art director Eric Guillon editors Gregory Perler Steven Liu music by John Powell executive producers Sergio Pablos Cinco Paul based on Google Website produced by Chris Meledandri screenplay by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio directed by Tim Johnson Karey Kirkpatrick
You don’t have to share to download a torrent, that is an option int eh software. I appreciate your site with the information, just wanted to help out a little.
Is posting songs of your favorite artists on the internet, i.e. Myspace, considered copyright infringement? Isin’t that infringement of the public display portion of the law? How about mashups or tweeking an artists song with your own music (not selling, distributing or reproducing it)?
In Uganda today copyright infringement is on a high scale u guys come and help
if you ask me it’s perfectly normal to download videos or music or even software, and as i understand it under the copyright act of 1976, it isn’t illegal either. true, technology and society has come along way since the law was past almost 40 years ago, but downloading films from the internet is no different in my opinion at least, than recording tv programs on vhs, and when i was a kid, i did that all the time without worrying where it was coming from. now although i’ve been called sick and eccentric during my lifetime, i am no criminal. i just simply like watching the same thing over and over again until i memorize it by heart and can act out the entire thing. but like a lot of you a i can’t afford to buy or rent all the films i like, that and some of them i just can’t find anywhere else
so like the rest of you, i download from youtube and other sites, and i can understand the artists that make those videos because quite frankly, i want to be one myself, but because i have trouble with impulse control i have to wait a while. but what should the law do? arrest all the downloaders on the planet when we have more serious threat like corrupted politicians and terrorists to worry about? nobody take this the wrong way, but that’s about silliest lost cause in the world today!
i’m just saying that as you don’t upload those things yourself but simply just download them, then you’re not the real criminal. and even you do upload but then instantly get rid of it online, then what’s even the point of suing? see, this is the problem with politics as it’s been since rooservelt, it’s become too involved in making a profit. my message is don’t believed republicans and conservatives because there such stupid jerks and skinflints. if they steal you’re money and you suffer, they won’t care even the least. they rather die than lose money. and in the end because everyone else is losing money, so are they. i’m just lucky to live where i live because a lot of people aren’t that fortunate.
I have a VHS copy of a movie that I like to watch. If I copy a digital copy to see on my ipad, I fail to see how this is copyright infringement… or is it? When a person buys a copy of a movie, they do not own the movie, but instead the right to view the movie: a license. Would the license I have purchased be valid on whatever medium I need to view it? Getting mad at me for seeing a DVD when I have the movie on a VHS seems like a violation of my license agreement with the movie production company… likewise if I download a copy to see on my ipad is the same case since I can not insert the VHS tape into the ipad.. right?
Stan, the short answer is you cannot make a copy (nothing whatsoever) without permission. This permission is called a “license.” Thus, you cannot copy a VHS, DVD, or computer file to view on a different medium (e.g. computer, DVD, etc.) without a license. Many licenses permit some copying.
The reality is, most copyright holders won’t care about you buying a VHS and putting it on DVD unless you are doing it for commercial purposes.
What if you pay a fee for three years unlimited, I had the receipt and everything, now I am being monitored on my cell phone and my parents internet….i am disabled and didn’t know all the the laws….even asked permission and bought music, DVDs, and ppl are claiming I don’t have the receipts and that it isn’t my internet accounts anymore….please help….
My friend next door is being threatened with a lawsuit for they said various downloads of music, but he has not got a computer; all he has is a tablet and he knows nothing about Utorrent or any other torrent site. He is only on his fb or emails yet he is being threatened, I personally went through his tablet myself and there has been no torrents or torrent programs downloaded on to his device; however I know my internet was hacked a couple of years ago by someone calling themselves FBIVAN1 and I come to find out later they called themselves that so people would be afraid to kick them off. Since then I do not own a computer it is not safe to, I use my phone to get on my fb because I feel safer; my son has a tablet but I will not allow a computer in my home. I have one the church gave me in my car right now, but it is gonna sit and rot because I wont let it in my home; and now that my friend is being falsly accused I probably never will allow one in my home.
I believe the copyright people should go after the torrent places instead of the normal everyday citizens they lure into their web, but apparently they cant beat them at all; so they try and beat them another way which is to try and get the average person.
My friend is disabled and scared to death right now and the government says thats fine, so today I wage my own war on the torrent companys and I dont do legal battles I wage my war on social media. And then I am gonna do some research myself and find out who used his internet to do this, because whomever did this knows he is in a battle right now with someone filing taxes in his name three times; and probably figured he was a safe victim and did not count on the backlash coming from me.
I’m curious how these copyright settlement values are determined. Is there a specific value that a copyright infringement case is tied to?
In tort law, usually damages are limited to treble damages, no? If someone downloads a $15 movie illegally, I fail to see how the settlements can end up in the $2,000 range, especially if there isn’t specific evidence of distribution for profit. Further, it seems absurd that a court could tie an individual IP address might be linked to a computer that might have uploaded a portion of a copyrighted work to damages that high.
Rather, it seems that the plaintiffs are calculating that settlement is cheaper than defense, and that people will pay up.
In addition, many of the “copyright trolls” appear to be porn companies who are in the business of distributing work that they might not even have a legal copyright for (e.g. revenge porn). I wonder how, on earth, a court could ever award damages to a porn company for distributing what was stolen to begin with…
Question, if you download something and it is under copyright protection, and then find out the name is the only thing correct and the actual movie is not the movie. Example. Download a Harry Potter movie, says it is a Harry Potter in the name, but the actual movie was something totally different. Can a company still press charges against you?
And you say that even just downloading, you are providing it to others. If you delete the “seed” as soon as it is done downloading, you could only have provided parts to someone else, not the entire movie. And if providing part of a movie is not legal, then there are a lot of YouTube channels that would be in violation as well.
Intent is not a factor when determining whether copyright infringement occurred. This means the law doesn’t pay attention to what the person downloading/copying intended. The law only looks at what was actually downloaded. Thus, the owners of Harry Potter could not sue someone who downloads another movie that had “Harry Potter” in the filename (unless they owned the copyright for that movie too).
I have recieved an email stating that someone has violated federal copyrighted infringement and am liable of legal consequences. I admit to have downloaded movies from a but through false information on Youtube on how to watch movies for free. What can I do in this issue?
Can you guys please post some samples of what’s considered an illegal copy of media (movie, music, etc.), given certain circumstances? For example: Digital Media given by a friend in either disk or USB transfer to your computer… How about copying legally purchased and owned movies/music tapes/cd/dvd into digital that’s not being shared? I mean, if from what’s stated in the copyright law thing were to be taken word for word, then technically everyone who copied their cds/dvds into digital files for computer or mp3 player/phone, would be technically breaking the copyright rules? Also, before computers and internet, tapes n cds were dubbed by many, just as vcrs and cassette were used to record from tv/cable and radio.
That’s technically against the copyright rules, and everyone who have done so are considered rule breakers?
You hit the nail on the head. Each of your examples are copyright infringement if the copying is not authorized by the copyright owner. However, the copyright laws are just not being enforced because either the copyright owner does not know about these little infractions or does not care. Unless the copyright owner has given permission to copy (this is called a “license” in legal terms), copying is infringing the owner’s legal rights under U.S. copyright law.
By analogy, it may be illegal to spit your gum on the ground, but police may not care enough to ticket you if you spit it into a bush. It may be illegal to pour toxic waste into the woods, but if nobody knows you did it, you can’t get in legal trouble. In the same way, copyright infringement occurs all the time but people never face a legal consequence because either nobody cares or the copyright owner does not know about it.
A new thing is live streaming of TV through the internet. I purchased a subscription to one such channel that can be viewed through the roku device. Now that I have the channel it seems too good to be true. There is a lot of live media from many network tv stations. I’m concerned this is illegal. Also, since I already purchased this subscription how do I protect myself from a future potential lawsuit?
My guess is immediately canceling the subscription but even so, there will always be a record of me purchasing the subscription to begin with.
What are your thoughts???
Earlier this year I was subpoenaed in a lawsuit by Malibu Media. They were asking for an excess of $15,000 for allegedly downloading close to 30 of their files. However, we were able to settle for less than .05% of that amount by riding the “I have no money” train for the entire process. They did, of course, require proof but that was easy enough to provide since it was true.
In a way, I almost would have liked to see the case go further because I think I had some strong, legitimate arguments against their claims – arguments that may have prevented their gaining access to my hard drives.
One of those arguments was against the automatic seeding. First of all, in their suit they list the files downloaded and one specific moment in time that my IP address was downloading each file. The thing to remember is that seeding is done in parts not wholes. So that moment in time only proves that one seed was being uploaded and anyone who’s downloading that seed is only getting one unrecognizable portion of an incomplete file. The file does not become a recognized work until the entire file is downloaded, then reassembled by the torrent software. Since the copyright law indicates that a “work” is, in this case, an entire file/movie, then only uploading a portion of the file is not indicative of distributing the whole.
Moreover, the torrent software does not track how many whole works were transmitted by each seeder or to whom so, there is no evidence that I ever transmitted the entire file (the work) to anyone. Furthermore, if every other seeder in the swarm is also transmitting the same file, there’s no way to prove that anyone got the entire file (the work) from any one seeder.
Using this logic, it’s also arguable that I never downloaded any of the works because they have no proof that the download ever finished. They only way to prove I downloaded their files is to search my hard drive; but as I understand it, they have to have reasonable cause to do so or some type of evidence that proves they have reasonable cause. They can’t just go looking on the hopes of finding evidence.
I had several more arguments, some my attorney dismissed others that were promising.
I am one of those people who got one of the Copyright Infringement Notifications because my adult son, who lives in my house, downloaded a movie without my knowledge.
I am very concerned. furthermore there is the issue of who is at fault. he downloaded the file, but he used my internet service to do it.
Now i will be sweating it out for the next few months to see if they follow thru with a lawsuit.
I used to download everything just to check it out. I never sold anything as I would look st my download and then later delete it. In March 2012, my home network was remotely hacked at a level that I have never seen. I have been in the computer industry for 30 years and to this days still can’t load a computer new or used in my home without it getting hacked. Any ideas?
I would like to call or talked to you about Mt situtation. MERRY CHRISTMAS
Stupid me, and to get my guilty conscience out of the way, I confessed what I did wrong, even paying with a fee….Still getting hassled and getting blackmailed and my electronic devices are getting broken which is far more than 2,000.00…. I don’t understand…My Amazon account gets stolen and I am to blame for everything….Somebody please help me….why is it okay to record on dvr’s then? I agree, the uploaders should get in trouble too….how are folks supposed to get written proof anyways? It’s been almost 7 years since, I’ve confessed and they say I have one year left for being a prisoner in my parents house or my house….Also, my other question is, do you have to have townhouse insurance to cover your assets that get ripped off? My ex husband and I had over 300 dvds and 50 t.v. box sets and they got ripped off…
I have bought online course, and for offline learning purpose, I downloaded video to learn on my PC(for myself learn and not distribute to anyone), now that they scare to sue me. Can they sue me for that?
Your article fails to explain a few things about the reality of file sharing and “copyright infringement” so I would like to throw a few thoughts your way if you don’t mind. If someone downloads a movie or TV show off of the media firm’s website or server, and then seeds it to others, that, of course, is the very definition of copyright infringement. Because it came from the source. A website or server that under normal circumstances requires payment to obtain a copy. But if someone makes a personal recording off free live TV and seeds that (I am not talking about recordings made from pay-per-view media, or purchasable DVDs of course. I am only referring to TV shows or movies that were on free live TV), that is NOT copyright infringement. After the media has already been shown on live TV, it no longer falls under copyright law, with the exception of distribution for profit or gain. But seeding is not “copying for personal gain or profit”. Seeding is simply leaving that personal recording available on their computer. Others connect to that persons computer (via the information from the torrent) to obtain a download. Also, the torrent does not contain the actual pieces of the media that is being downloaded (which is what the media firms would like you to believe). It simply contains the network information to help connect you to where is exists. So with all this in mind, the definition of “distribution” does not exist here either, as that person is not “pushing” it to others. But the main point is, personal recordings from FREE live TV leave the realm of the protection of law. So how is it that media firms still believe this is copyright infringement? Back in the days of VCRs, if I was simply receiving a video tape a TV show that I missed, from a friend that recorded it for me, that was broadcast on FREE TV, that was never considered copyright infringement. So how is doing the same exact thing in the modern era, sharing a personal recording of something that was free to begin with, in violation of copyright law?
We respectfully disagree. Under the law, any unauthorized copying of a work protected by copyright is infringement. This includes a “personal recording off free live TV,” “personal recordings from FREE live TV,” and your friend giving you a VHS video tape of a show you missed. You may not have been caught. Even if you were caught, the infraction may have been so small that the copyright owner would not care. However, the fact remains that unauthorized copying is illegal.
Comments are closed.