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Help! I was sent a copyright infringement notice from ISP

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / August 5, 2011 9:03 AM PDT

Help! I was sent a copyright infringement notice from ISP

Our Internet provider sent a notice of claim of copyright infringement
from our IP address. No one in the household has knowledge of
downloading the movie. I don't know where to begin to prevent this
from happening again. Could a hacker or neighbor be using our IP
address? Can we change the IP? I think the password for the wireless
is secure since it is very random, but my son's friends have visited
and may know it. Help? I don't want to blamed for something we didn't
do. Any advice this situation is appreciated.

--Submitted by: Lynn V.

Here are some member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Check your router --Submitted by: High Desert Charlie

Birds of a feather... --Submitted by: mateek

Copyright infri --Submitted by: markandcheryl

Things to consider --Submitted by: Awesomeguy123

Copyright infringement reply --Submitted by: Talon MacDonald

Thanks to all who contributed!

If you have any additional advice for Lynn, click the "reply" link below and submit away. Please be as detailed as possible in your answer. Thanks!
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Copyright infringement reply
by Talon MacDonald / August 5, 2011 11:00 AM PDT

Copyright infringement happens when a copyright owner notices you (or someone on your line) stealing a movie or music or other marked material media, and notifies your provider that they caught you. If YOU are not aware of the "theft", here are steps to follow
1) check ALL computers in your network.. Often a spouse, or teenage child will not be entirely truthful
2) verify your network security, If you have wireless enabled and your security is low, you can be held liable
3) contact the service provider, and they can tell you the approximate time and day the download happened, enabling you to better check.
4) reset your network security code, making sure it is not a simple passkey, and occasionally change it to ensure someone in the network isnt sharing it with others.

Remember, an open network, regardless if you are someone that feels the net should be free for all, makes you responsible for the things that happen through your network. If someone breaks copyright rules and downloads, you can lose your provider. Even worse, if your neighbor or the guy parked in the street download child porn, or engages in ilegal pedations (children), you can as easily be arrested and charged with the crime.
Lock up that signal folks, keep it safe.

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Network password
by Force9Storm / August 6, 2011 7:25 AM PDT

The main point here is to change your WiFi password.
I've had this before - you just have to make sure you're not sharing this file any more any you will probably not hear any more about it. Changing your WiFi password should do this. Only exception to this is if the PC that is sharing the file is directly connected to the router. Then you have to make sure no one is using file-sharing software on this PC.

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sound advice by Lee
by hideous62 / August 12, 2011 1:08 PM PDT

And also ask who is making the accusation, and what was the material in question.

Simply a multi thread torrent does not make you a pirate - as many games use torrents for downloading primary software and updates.

More concern to me is the Macrovision anti pirating / licensing on STAND ALONE software that sets off most security software - reporting on you everytime you use it.

You maybe responsible for your network - but not the flaws and holes built into older poor OPEN networks.
UPGRADE your hardware and software when possible.

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Explanation for the infringement notifications
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / August 12, 2011 2:08 PM PDT

Let me give each person a clear understanding of copy right infringement. Most if not all the people who receive this notice are those of us who use a p2p service on the web like Vuze or the torrent, piratebay, etc and the movies we download are movies someone else uploaded to that site and made it available for downloading and your ISP provider knows this precisely, as they have the technology to track another IP Address and clearly they are aware of these web sites. I have received the same notification and if the problem was that serious, your ISP would have followed through with the intent to interrupt your subscription. But to do that, they would lose millions of subscribers and 10 times that in revenue. Most if not all the movies you download are the recently released films which are shown in the UK and throughout europe before they are released here in America and those recording these movies are using camcorders are they have an agreement with the projectionist to illegally record a live movie in progress, or they are given additional studio demo production copies. Now it is safe to say that you can not be held liable for downloading any media which is allowed to be uploaded and available to the general public. Also, the only real illegal action that can be taken is, if you reproduce the downloaded material for sale to the public without the express permission of the producer of these films. Again, most, if not all of us view these movies for personal use within our homes. It may be easy to track the IP address of the user, but remember, you can do the same on an unsecured Wi-Fi just sitting in a starbucks or even while you are on a airplane. For the guilty parties who scratch their heads and wonder how someone has pirated their secure network..wake up and be truthful..If you are the sole administrator, and you gave out the wep key, or wap phrase, then you are the blame and you have no defense, and like the story says, if some person is downloading child pornography, you can be charged the same as the person caught doing it, if you made your secure network available..NO EXCUSE !!!!

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Excellent detail
by TreknologyNet / August 12, 2011 5:12 PM PDT

The situation is a little different in Australia. A recent High Court case brought by AFACT against an ISP over the activities of their customers found that the hardware supplier was not liable for the activities of the end user. Therefore if someone else downloads material through a breach in my network, even if said material is kiddy porn, neither I nor my ISP is liable. Just as you suggested the scenario of someone using a Starbucks HotSpot, Starbucks cannot possibly police all the data and expecting an ISP to police the data of tens of thousands of users is a technical nightmare. I have been involved in several KP investigations. These people trade encrypted files. How can an ISP possibly keep track of that? And now there is a trend on torrent sites of any sort to offer a client program that includes encryption and other forms of obfuscation.

I will admit to downloading some media materials, however I am not in the habit of downloading the "latest and greatest" Any music I have download is unavailable in any commercial form (e.g., it existed on vinyl, but is unlikely ever to be re-released on CD.

Any video material that I have downloaded is usually followed by a) deletion because it wasn't what I was seeking; or b) a follow-up purchase of legitimate DVDs.

What surprises me is that I have encountered links to download movies so far ahead of their release date that one is left to conclude that the editor must rely on the download while in the cutting room in order to know how the movie finishes...

I certainly don't endorse piracy for the sake of getting everything you want free but, I do think that some of the more obscure cases could easily be classified as free advertising--"I previewed it as an MP4 and now I'm ordering the Blu-Ray from Amazon."

As I see it, encryption is going to become the "in thing", and RSA keys will be traded just to visit everyday innocent fora like this one.

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Many uncontrollable variables
by Dan23NN / August 13, 2011 1:51 AM PDT

<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">
</font><font size="3"><font face="Calibri">My ISP rotates my IP every couple months which helps. I
watch the kids play with hack programs and come up with angles I have certainly
never thought of, especially by these people creating laws and middle agers who
THINK they are creating some sort of original protection or accurate tracking
code. Computers are second nature to kids today like never before, and they are good. That being said
it is not the first time by any stretch I have heard poor people like "<span style="mso-bidi-font-weight: bold;">Lynn V." innocently take the brunt of something
even the accuser do not understand. It is an ongoing battle that should be monitored
as to benefit all evolved. Nough said!<?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /><o:p></o:p></font></font><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

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Not quite...
by WhyFi / August 13, 2011 11:50 AM PDT

"reproduce the downloaded material for sale to the public without the express permission of the producer of these films. Again, most, if not all of us view these movies for personal use within our homes."

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copy right infringement enforcement.
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / August 13, 2011 2:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Not quite...

I completely concur with your explanation and reasoning, but I must add that if this is the case then the ISP providers should restrict the p2p programs as they did with ATDHE.Net which was a view only program which provided links to torrents to download videos. Now respectfully speaking, you are correct in assuming that a business is business, and as such, there will be repercussions when you operate outside of boundaries set forth in managing the redistribution of encrypted materials. But why now the witch hunt, as this has been going on for many years and the ISP as well as the movie industry has been aware of the practices of the public downloading protected media, and I say one more time, just as Nexflix found out the hard way, the leading ISP ( Comcast ) will lose many subscribers as well as revenue if they pursue this infringement policy violation against the general public. An example to my reasoning is using your sound card as a source to copy live music and then convert it to a wma / mp3 format to make music CD's...How do you stop that when computer programmers made the technology available. Will the music industry be able to effectively prosecute anyone who records music knowing the designers and programmers made such technology available " Free " to the purchaser of their PC's? It's a tuff decision all the way around and it is worth while to pay closer attention to the out come.

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Protect those passwords
by JessGless / August 13, 2011 11:44 AM PDT

Good grief! Your sons friends "MIGHT" have your passwords.
If that were so and it was my son he would lose ALL of his computer privileges for six months.

If your son needs to download stuff, do it for him. Otherwise, you might one day find that your wallet is not only very flat, but that you have a very large bill.

And copywrite infringement may also hit your wallet very hard.
If that happens I don't think things will be so "loose" in your house for a very long time.

It is like deleting a whole hard disk - once done you learn rapidly not to do it again.
I hate to be so negative about this, but, you son probably knows computers better than you do.
So, another initiative is to go to your local community college and take some beginning computer courses.

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Secure your network
by occsean / August 5, 2011 11:02 AM PDT

Here is a way to chase out the baddies..

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mac address filtering
by photobug56 / August 5, 2011 11:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Secure your network

On my Linksys WRT610N, if I turn on MAC address filtering, the router periodically, randomly forgets some of the addresses. It would be great if it worked properly, of course. And Linksys stopped supporting the 610N a long time ago.

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use wpa or wpa2
by stevenrich4472 / August 5, 2011 11:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Secure your network

Extra steps are change all default passwords and use WPA or WPA2 security, not wep. Any way to reduce the transmitter's power. Also change your SSID to something other than linksys

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Advice Please.
by Rimeriter / August 5, 2011 12:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Secure your network

Your info. is interesting. But how do I do these ?


Note: This post was edited by its original author to remove email address on 08/08/2011 at 11:42 AM PT

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Wireless security
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 5, 2011 9:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Advice Please.
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Probably attacked from within.
by sys-eng / August 5, 2011 2:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Secure your network

Halting the SSID broadcast helped security about 15 years ago. It does absoluetly nothing now tostop anyone who has a utility that helps them access wireless networks.

MAC filtering is not so great either because the MAC address of nearly every wireless device can be retrieved when it is broadcasting.

Firewall and password are your best friends in wireless security. Most of these "hacks" originate from infected computers. Your computer may have been infected with a Trojan that established the connection. That is probably the most common method of hijacking today.

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MAC Address Filter Flaw
by Armchairplum / August 13, 2011 8:04 PM PDT

A determined person can "fake" their mac address to be like one of the devices on the network and therefore bypass security...

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forget that..
by fairlane32 / August 15, 2011 4:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Secure your network

Not broadcasting an SSID and mac address filtering won't keep an attacker off the network, and will make a household network more of a pain to manage. Simple WPA2 -PSK (pre-shared-key) with the password 63 characters (containing upper case, lowercase, special characters and numbers) will do just fine.

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Update passwords
by sharee100 / August 5, 2011 11:06 AM PDT

I had the same thing happen to me. I didn't download the movie! A hacker got into my computer, through a router, firewall, through Time Warner's servers and firewalls and even got into my router company's server and erased any records they had for that day. I contacted the router company and they said change the password monthly. I was told the hacker used my wireless access at about 4:30am and lived within a couple of miles of my home. I have since switched to a wired router, restricted number of ports available to only computers I have plugged in, unplug router if I am going to be away for more than one day, and change my passwords often, making sure passwords are not related to any personal info that a hacker can easily figure out. I know it won't make me 100% safe, but I feel safer than before.

Time Warner and Paramount Studios said that because the hacker used my IP address I was legally liable. Scary, huh?

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Check Your Router

Hi Lynn,

In most cases I would go into a boring diatribe about the ins and outs of managing your Wireless Router, Firewalls, Static IP addresses, etc.... But not today. I did a quick search on this subject and found this article, which does a pretty decent job of explaining the hows and whys, dos and don'ts regarding this subject matter:


They really don't get into how to log on to your router, so you'll need to enter a few simple commands to get the information you need.

First, you'll need to get to the command prompt. If you're using Vista or Windows 7, click on the Start Orb and in the box type: cmd (don't hit enter yet. Look above the box and you'll see the command cmd. Right click on that command and Run as Administrator). This will open a black box command window.

At the command prompt, type: ipconfig and ENTER

This will give you all of the information you need regarding the address of your router. Look for the "Default Gateway" address under "Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection". It will usually be something like although the last two numbers may vary depending on the router. Go to your browser and enter this address (without any http:\\www), just the address. This should bring you to your login screen for your router.

Unless you or someone else has changed the username and password, it's usually:

Username: admin
Password: password

You may have to check for your particular router. Often the default login information is actually on the router. The first thing you may want to do after you've logged in to the router is to assign a new Username and Password to help prevent unauthorized access to your router.

The information in the article I linked above can be found once you've logged into your router. Just look for something like "My Network"(Verizon Router). This will show you all of the users connected to your router including their MAC address and IP address. That should narrow down the culprit for you.

Most routers have the capability to limit or modify permissions for any user connected to your router. This is where you can restrict them or shut them down completely. If the user doesn't appear to be in your household, you should block the computer with that MAC address so they will no longer have access.

Finally, if you are able to do so, you should change your WEP security key while you're logged in to the router for an added measure of safety. Make certain you write it down somewhere, because all computers that connect through wireless will need the new key. If you forget it, you will have to reset the router and start all over again. I've found that a short pencil works much better than a long memory.

Best of Luck to you Lynn

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more on check you router
by jhkessler / August 12, 2011 9:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Check Your Router

Good information. In my router, besides using the WEP 128 bit password, I also use the MAC address control. This will only allow computers with those MAC addresses to connect to your router. The MAC address also comes out with the ipconfig /all command. These measures are very important for the wireless routers. I used to connect to my router while parked in my apartments parking lot. If by any chance you are not using wireless to connect to your computer others still can.
Some routers allow you to turn off the wireless or remove the antennas if you are plugging you pc into the router with a cable.

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Router on a mac
by jamesroy--2008 / August 13, 2011 1:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Check Your Router

In reference to the previous router answer on a pc. What about s
a mac? How do you access a router change on a mac?

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Resetting Router info
by hoferermk / August 13, 2011 3:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Check Your Router

Help - I was able to change the password, but couldn't find a place to change the username. I have a Linksys.

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Most routers.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 13, 2011 4:05 PM PDT
In reply to: Resetting Router info

Do not let you change the router's login name.

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change wireless router passwords and use WPA
by hellocomputer / August 5, 2011 11:55 AM PDT

Your wireless router should have two passwords: the administrator's password, and the key used in wireless encryption. Change them both just to be sure. And if you're using WEP encryption, it can be easily broken, so change it to WPA encryption. If your wireless router does not have WPA, buy a new one. If any of your laptops do not support WPA, get an USB wireless dongle for it.

That should prevent someone outside from using your wireless internet. If the problem persists, then either the ISP is wrong, or someone inside the house is downloading the copyrighted stuff, probably using a P2P software.

Unfortunately there is no foolproof way to block P2P traffic from going through your router. It may be possible to monitor internet traffice and detect where and when P2P traffic comes from.

For more details on any of the above, search the internet.

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Birds of a feather...
by mateek / August 5, 2011 12:25 PM PDT

I saw my first "Copyright Infringement" letter from the ISP from a community room nearby last year after personally receiving fake domain registration offers in the mail with names I'd already registered every six months for years. I worried about those fakes because I sometimes sold or will sell domain names as a reseller to first time domain buyers with no tech savvy. The infringed copyright fake listed a WAN IP (from the providers side of the line) and a port number. They listed a single song with a church name, and looking back I realize how much that resembles the spams from fake clergy I see dozens of every day saying contact the sender and cash his or her foreign check left to him or her from their dear old uncle and be rewarded richly. Ridiculous unless you've never seen one in your life.

I wish I'd been shown the letter before the elderly non-savvy guy in charge unplugged the internet, setting off legal actions. I would have advised him to go into the router settings, and close the port. Then I would suggest he contact the ISP and confirm the letter was indeed a forgery.

The advice I've already read above addressing this community question is spot on as well. Make sure you recognize all the devices connecting to your router and change or beef up the security measures in there at the same time.

I think any real infringement notice will come in the mail from a legal department, and not through the email or in a photocopied form letter, but best to be sure.
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by audiobloke / August 12, 2011 6:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Birds of a feather...

I work for a telco and I can assure you that we will termiante a subscribers account if we receive sufficient legal communications from the represantatives of the copy-right holders advising us that the infringements happened from an IP address that we provided to the subscriber.
Don't infrige copyright would be my advice - It's the law.

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by mateek / August 14, 2011 12:40 AM PDT
In reply to: @mateek

Please don't "...assure..." me, since I didn't address the 'telco' role. I think your reply is misplaced, if not heterodox. I didn't shed any doubt on whether a 'telco' would or wouldn't act on "...legal communications..."
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copy right material warning
by william rice / August 13, 2011 8:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Birds of a feather...

i got a letter in the mail from mediacom directly stating that they were given info that i had downloaded copyrighted material. in my case i had i did not even think about this when i downloaded the flics i got as the subject had never been brought to my attention before nor did i ever here from anyone i new being called about it . i stopped doing it and have not heard anything else about it. one of my cousins that knows a lot more about pc's than me said microsoft sends a signal when you play bootlegged movies to the persons ISP, don't know about that but who knows what all is in the microsoft programs buried where lite weights like me cant go. i would definitely check out the router and any other possibility if your sure no one in your house did the download.

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Yes, I've dealt with this before for other customers
by krazyken44 / August 5, 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Lynn V. I'm sorry this happened. I hope they don't come after you for this,but they mat hve been warning you to get control of the issue. Most of the time I find out it was a weakly secured, or open wireless.
You need to:
1.Reset you login for wireless to WPA/PSK 2. Use a strong encryption key with 9 to 15 numbers and letters. This is the strongest encrption for a wireless network and don't allow anyone else to know it. Use MAC address filering too and don't broadcast your wireless network SSID. Also, limit the amout of addresses and use MAC filtering too.
2. I dislike saying this as it may sound bad, but you may need supervise your kids Internet use and if the need arises, lock them out. I have to lock my 19 year old son out, but my 14 year old daughter knows better than break my Internet usage rules. I log where they go and my daughter knows this fact all to well, but my son just doesn't care. I won't let my son use a computer or Internet for that reason.
3. You need to set up , or change your user password for Windows. Don't allow anyone to use your computer without your OK. This is true if you find out your kids did this from your ISP's records.
I also have a router that allows blocking content and/or search phrases plus websites, but I don't use it.
Contact your ISP and see if they have logs of this activity, like when, what, and so on and ask if they can give you more information? They should have the MAC address of the computer performing the download. All MAC addresses are unique and easily traceable.
My setup is simple: I use WPA/PSK /2 on my wireless and my SSID is hidden. I setup MAC filtering and I run strong hardware firewall and software firewalls on all PCs. I change my encryption key for my wireless often on my router and PCs. I also keep logs for myself of what any PC did when it was on my network, but your router might not have this feature. I don't allow the use of my PC's by my children without my knowledge, or permission.
I've never been hacked yet or charged with anything yet, but nothing is 100% secure. I guess if you need more help, or have more qustions, you can get it here. There are quite a few people that know how to do these things here on CNET.

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Missed the point.. are they allowed to sniff your data?
by LateralNW / August 5, 2011 12:41 PM PDT
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