As an Internet user, you have likely read articles in the past about the music industry’s aggressive pursuit of individuals illegally sharing copyrighted material. As the Internet has grown and become a significant part of our daily lives, many copyright owners including music, movie and television studios; game and software developers; the publishing industry and more believe that copyright infringement will continue to grow as the Internet becomes faster and even easier to use.
So what is copyright infringement and why am I writing about it? Well, I thought doing so would help shed some light on the subject and explain how Armstrong is involved, what we are doing and why. For starters, let’s define copyright infringement.
“Copyright Infringement” occurs when an individual or group of individuals reproduce, perform, publicly display or make derivative works of protected material and then distribute those materials to others without the copyright holder’s consent.
Perhaps you or someone you know has shared copyrighted materials like movies, music, books, games or software applications. You might think that no one is getting hurt or that copyright holders already make too much money. You might even believe that what you choose to do is nobody’s business.
Armstrong is not taking sides nor do we have any knowledge of how you use the Internet on a daily basis. As a responsible Internet provider, we do want to help educate our customers and inform those that choose to share copyrighted materials that your actions may have consequences. While many people believe their Internet use is or should be completely anonymous, that is not necessarily true. Any time you use the Internet, your Internet Protocol “IP” address is broadcast during that session. From that IP address, copyright holders know who your Internet Service Provider is and consequently have the ability to pursue legal action against you.
Federal law requires Internet Service Providers such as Armstrong to pass on any Copyright Infringement notices we receive. We are also required to have a program in place to disconnect subscribers if the activity continues. If you are currently participating in the downloading or sharing of copyrighted materials, you should be aware that many content owners are taking aggressive steps to prosecute offenders.
If you receive one of these notifications, please understand that Armstrong is not able to answer any questions you may have about the infringement notice. The notice will contain your IP address, the date and time the infringement occurred, the material shared and applicable contact information for the copyright holder or its agent.
Again, we are not aware of how you are using your Internet connection on a daily basis. We are merely passing on the notifications we receive. If you have questions about our established notification and suspension processes, we would be happy to share the details with you.