What is a copyright infringement and how do you protect yourself? It all starts with a website that advertises “free” music or file downloads. You click on the file and download it to your computer and watch or play that file. Seems easy enough…..BUT, do you know that illegal downloading is a crime that can come with up to five years of jail time and fines and charges up to $150,000 per downloaded file? When movies or songs are produced and marketed, everyone in the process has monetary gains from the sale of that product. That product is then protected by copyright laws so that it can’t be copied, reproduced or resold without their permission. If you do not pay for a song, movie or other media file that has a copyright, then downloading that file is a crime. There are 2 primary groups, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) that monitor the downloading of music and movies and they can trace the activity back to the specific internet port, which is identifiable to each internet service provider, such as HCI. These groups notify the specific ISP of the activity and they are then responsible for notifying the customer that has performed the illegal download. HCI does not monitor internet activity, but we are required to notify our customers when we receive these notifications from MPAA or RIAA.
So how do you prevent illegal downloading and sharing from happening on your devices? Most Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software has file sharing features that are turned on by default, making any song or movie files on your computer available to others for download. In effect, you are distributing copyright materials without even knowing it. Know what software you have on all of your computers and how it works. Turn off any file-sharing options. Examples of P2P software are: Limewire, Kazaa, Bearshare, BitTorrent and Ares, to name a few.
If you have a wireless router, be sure to set up security, including a good password. That password should only be shared with people you trust to be on your internet connection. If someone connects to your wireless router and downloads or shares files illegally, that activity can be traced back to you and you will be held liable.
Please share this information with any individual who is accessing your internet connection in your residence or business. If you have any questions about illegal download and file sharing, please contact our business office or our internet technical support line. We would be happy to assist you with your questions or concerns regarding illegal downloading, securing your router or any of your internet or service questions.