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COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT FAQ

Overview

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) of 1998 was created to protect the intellectual properties of copyrighted material found on the Internet. Prior to the enactment of the DCMA, an Internet-based service provider like SEI Communications could be found liable for copyright infringement just for hosting or transferring its users' pictures, music, videos or code through our network even if we had no knowledge of the infringement occurring. The DMCA attempted to fix this problem by creating a so-called copyright liability "safe harbor" for internet service providers hosting and/or transferring allegedly infringing content across their network. (See U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 512.) Essentially, so long as SEI Communications follows the DMCA's notice-and-takedown rules, it won't be liable for copyright infringement based on user-generated content or file transfer via the SEI Communication network. Because of this it is important for SEI Communications to maintain its DMCA safe-harbor status.

Questions

1.) I received a letter and/or e-mail stating my Internet account was identified as having been used to illegally copy and/or distribute copyrighted material over the Internet. What does this mean?

Movies, music, and TV shows are examples of material protected by copyright. The unauthorized downloading or uploading of material such as this is perceived as copyright infringment, even if not done for profit.

Illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material is often accomplished using "peer-to-peer" (P2P) software installed on individual devices. This allows a device to exchange files with other devices that are running similar software. P2P services usually configure their software in a way that allows any files that have been downloaded accessible to anyone else on the Internet who is using the P2P software and seeking the file(s) that are loaded on the device.

If a SEI Communications customer receives a letter and/or e-mail indicating a copyright infringement, it is because a device at the customer's location has been identified as engaging in copying and/or distributing copyrighted material at a specific time and date. SEI Communications has determined from the IP address, time, and date of the alleged activity that the offending device was located at your location.

2.) What is an IP address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is an unique series of numbers that devices use to connect to the Internet. In most residential scenarios, there are devices that connect directly to the Internet, such as DSL modems and routers, that also allow other devices to connect to the Internet through them, such as computers, printers, tablets, smartphones, etc. All devices receive an unique IP address either from the modem or router, if it is a computer, printer, tablet, etc., or from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as SEI Communications if the device is a modem or router.

3.) What if my IP address does not match the one listed on the notice?

That doesn't mean that the letter and/or e-mail is mistaken. IP addresses are not permanent; they change from time to time. SEI Communications keeps records listing the IP address assigned to a customer's modem or router at any given time. According to SEI Communications records, when the IP address listed in the letter and/or e-mail was identified allegedly downloading and/or distributing the file(s) in question, the IP address was assigned to the modem/router at your location. So, even if the modem/router at your location has a different IP address now, according to SEI Communications records it was assigned the IP address listed in the letter and/or e-mail when the infringement occurred.

4.) What does the Time of Complaint mean?

The Time of Complaint reflects when the alleged infringement activity took place, local time.

5.) Why is the time listed in the Time of Complaint different than what the correspondence lists?

The entities that send the correspondence use a timestamp reference that is based on Greenwich Mean Time(GMT). Our time is based on being located in the Eastern Time zone. When we observe Daylight Savings Time, there is a 4 hour difference between GMT and our time. During the few months in the winter when we are not observing DST, there is a 5 hour difference. Refer to the GMT website for more information.

6.) What does Cust Connected/Disconnected mean?

In question 2 above, it was explained that all devices that use the Internet receive a unique IP address. In question 3, is was explained that IP addresses, in most cases, are not permanently assigned. The Cust Connected line that lists a date and time reflect when the IP listed in the correspondence was assigned to your modem or router. The Cust Disconnect date and time reflect when a new IP was assigned. If the Cust Disconnect line states "still online", that indicates at the time of sending the e-mail that the modem or router still retained the same IP address.

7.) Where do I find the file name of the alleged infringed material?

The file name of the alleged infringed material is listed in the area of the correspondence labeled Evidentiary Information. This area will list the file name, as well as other information pertaining to the alleged event, and is listed at the end of the information that explains the reason for the correspondence.

8.) What is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a method in which files are distributed accross a network. Click here to learn more.

9.) What is a port?

A port is used with software applications in conjunction with the unique IP address a device uses to communicate with other devices. Click here to learn more.

10.) What do I do now to resolve this?

First, you should look carefully at the letter and/or e-mail you received from SEI Communications. Additionally, you should:

  • Discontinue downloading and uploading unauthorized copies of copyright material immediately.


  • Look at devices within your location that could download/upload copyright material. This is usually a computer or laptop, but any device capable of transferring material is suspect.


  • If you do not use P2P software for lawful purposes, delete it.


  • If you use P2P for lawful purposes (to upload or download files that you are legally authorized to reproduce or distribute), make sure the only authorized files in your P2P "shared folder" are ones you are authorized to distribute in this way.


Remember, distributing files illegally puts you at risk for sanctions imposed for violating SEI Communications terms of service as well as substantial civil, and in some cases, criminal penalties.

11.) I want to delete the copies of the unauthorized file(s) on my computer. How do I do this?

Look at the letter and/or e-mail you received and enter the name of the file(s) into the search function on the device. If found, delete the file(s).

12.) I believe that someone else may have used my Internet access without my knowledge or approval. How can I secure my Internet access?

In general, most consumer grade network hardware has security features that, when properly configured, can make it very difficult if not impossible for someone to use your Internet access without your knowledge. Many network hardware vendors today enable or pre-configure these security features, but ultimately the customer is responsible to keep their connection secure. Refer to the manufacturer's website for helpful suggestions to help you secure your Internet access.

Questions or Comments webmaster@seidata.com



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