Have you received a letter from Clear Creek Communications regarding illegal download activity on your computer(s)? Not sure what it means and what next steps to take? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding Internet safety and legal notices.
Why would I receive a communication that says my Internet account was identified as having been used to illegally copy and/or distribute copyrighted material over the Internet?
Music, movies and books are protected by copyright. The unauthorized downloading or uploading of any copyrighted material is actionable as copyright infringement, 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 computers, which allows your computer to exchange files with other computers that are running similar software.
How does Clear Creek Communications know of illegal activity on my account?
When you use P2P 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.” 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 by the copyright owner as the source of illegal transfers of copyrighted material. A notice was sent to Clear Creek Communications by the copyright owner identifying the particular infringement and the associated IP address with a demand that the activity cease.
Why are P2P services risky?
Many P2P services are used overwhelmingly to infringe copyright. With many of these P2P services, when you download a file from another user, your computer automatically becomes a distributor of that file to others. In addition, malicious users utilize some P2P networks to spread viruses, worms and Trojan horses (programs enabling hackers to gain control of your computer). Illegal file transfers can also expose your private computer files to strangers, increasing the risk of identity theft. Paying for your P2P software, or paying for technical support for your P2P software, does not include a license or authorization to download or share any music you desire.
What do I do now to resolve this or prevent future notices?
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, books or movies.
Permanently delete all infringing material from all computers linked to your account. If you downloaded the file from a P2P service or a website that seems too good to be legal, then it’s safe to assume it is not legal.
If you don’t use P2P software for lawful purposes, delete it.
If you use P2P for lawful purposes (to upload or download files 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.
Remember, distributing copyrighted files illegally puts you at risk for sanctions imposed for violating Clear Creek Communications’ terms of service as well as substantial civil and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Learn how you can further protect yourself, your children and loved ones from P2P complications with the Parental Leaflet at http://www.riaa.com/toolsforparents.php?content_selector=tools_info_for_parents
The entire tutorial can be found at http://www.riaa.com/ispnoticefaq.php. You can also find a multitude of legal, affordable and hassle free places where you can find your favorite music in high quality formats at the same website. Just log on to the toolsforparents website, then click on Legal Music Sites for a list of a number of legal and safe sites where content is available for downloading.