Help : Notice of unauthorized use of copyrighted properties

I received a communication that says my Internet account was identified as having been used to illegally copy and/or distribute copyrighted content over the Internet. What does this mean?

Music, movies and tv shows are protected by copyright. The unauthorized downloading or uploading of music, movies and tv shows is actionable as copyright infringement, even if not done for profit.

Illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted content is often accomplished using “peer-to-peer” (P2P) software installed on individual computers, which allows your computer to exchange files with other computers that are running similar software. P2P services usually configure their software so that any files you download (and any other files in your “shared folder”) are automatically made accessible to anyone else on the P2P network that requests them.

When you use such services to download and upload files, you are not anonymous. Whenever you connect to the Internet, your computer is assigned a unique “Internet protocol (IP) address” from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This unique IP address is used to identify your computer as the source of available files to all other computers on a P2P network. The infringement notice you received is the result of your computer having been identified as engaged in an illegal transfer of copyrighted content. 

A notice was sent to Bravo Telecom identifying the particular infringement and the associated IP address. Bravo Telecom determined from its records that the IP address was assigned to your account when the infringement was committed. Bravo Telecom then sent you the infringement notice you received.

What if I didn’t realize I was uploading copyrighted files?

If you have P2P software installed on one or more of your computers connected to the Internet, it enables computers with similar P2P software to communicate with each other and transfer files. If you have P2P software on your computer delete it or, if you have a legal reason to use the software, delete any unauthorized files in your “shared folder.”

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

That doesn’t mean that the notice is mistaken. IP addresses are not permanent; they change from time to time. Bravo Telecom keeps records listing the IP address assigned to your account at any given time. According to our records, when the IP address in question was identified illegally downloading and/or distributing the music in question, the IP address was assigned to your account. So, even if your account has a different IP address now, according to our records it was assigned the IP address in question when the infringement occurred.

What do I do now to resolve this?

You should immediately take the following steps in order to prevent further infringing activity and to prevent serious legal and other consequences:

  • Discontinue downloading and uploading unauthorized copies of music, movies, tv shows
  • Permanently delete from your computer all infringing content from all computers linked to the account . If you downloaded the file from a P2P service or a website that seems too good to be legal, then it’s safer to assume it is not legal.
  • 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 files in your P2P “shared folder” are ones you are authorized to distribute in this way.
  • Secure your internet connection to ensure it is not being used in ways you have not authorized. For example, secure your home Wi-Fi network to ensure others are not accessing the Internet through your connection to download or distribute unauthorized copies, and use virus and spyware protection software. 
  • Talk with family members or guests who may have used your Internet connection in ways you are not aware of.

I want to delete the copies of the unauthorized content on my computer. How do I do this?

If you know the name of the title you are looking for, you can use the “search” function on most computer systems to search for your files by name. If you don’t find a title at first, try searching for one particular word of the title, or by entering the filename indicated on the notice.  

So am I being sued?

No. The notice you received from Bravo Telecom about a copyright infringement complaint from a third party does not mean you are being sued. It is a warning that the third party has detected unlawful downloading or distribution from your computer and it is meant to put you on notice that this activity should stop. If you fail to heed this warning and continue to illegally download and share copyrighted content then you do expose yourself to being sued for damages arising from copyright infringement.