Salon.com Technology | Fingered by the movie cops Fingered by the movie cops
Under today's copyright laws, you are guilty until proven innocent. I know -- it happened to me.
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By Amita Guha
Aug. 23, 2001 | One recent Monday, my boyfriend and I returned home from a long weekend away. As usual, one of the first things we did was check our e-mail, only to discover, to our dismay, that Time-Warner Cable, our Internet service provider, had cut off access to our account sometime around midnight the Friday before. My boyfriend, a software engineer who takes his e-mail seriously, called the tech support line and was transferred to several people that evening, none of whom could help. All he could find out was that the account had been suspended for "security reasons."
The next morning, we received an express-mailed letter from Time-Warner Cable, which stated that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had accused us of distributing copyrighted material. The MPAA had determined that someone, supposedly with an Internet protocol (IP) address assigned to our computer by Time-Warner at the time, had distributed the material on July 4. The part that got me was the second paragraph: "In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 512, (ISP name) has removed or disabled access to that material."
That DSL option is looking better and better every day, at least until the phone company absorbs Time Warner, or vice versa.