OTCQB: RIHT May 27, 2017

Who Gets a Notice?

It is a violation of United States Federal Law 17 USC 106 to "share" copyright media on peer-to-peer "filesharing" programs like BitTorrent, uTorrent, Vuze and Frostwire.  These programs copy and distribute the files that they "share."  A copyright means that the owner has the sole right to determine who may copy and distribute the protected works.

A computer under the control of the ISP subscriber that the notice is addressed to has uploaded, downloaded or offered to distribute the content detailed in the notice sent at the time, IP Address and Port specified in the notice.

The computer at issue is not authorized to distribute this content.  Accordingly, any distribution is a violation of law.  The content is owned by Rightscorp customers and the customer has authorized us to monitor illegal sharing/distribution of this content.

It is the subscriber’s responsibility to assure that his or her connection is being used lawfully. Specifically, to make sure that any wireless routers have passwords to prevent unauthorized access and that houseguests and family members are using the connection lawfully.

Overview

Rightscorp (“DRC”) software monitors the global Peer‐to‐ Peer (P2P) file sharing networks to seek out and find illegally downloaded digital media. On behalf of digital media copyright owners, and through major Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), we automatically send out copyright infringement and demand notices to those who have illegally downloaded digital media. Infringers remit payment to Rightscorp, Inc. for the copyright infringement and Rightscorp makes payment to the copyright owners. Many infringers who do not pay are disconnected by their ISPs.

Under Federal Copyright Law, once the ISP has actual knowledge of copyright infringements that take place using its network, it has specific duties in elation to the enforcement of the rights of the owners of the material in question. Every ISP is required by law to enforce a policy that provides, in appropriate circumstances, for termination of internet service to subscribers who become repeat infringers. 

The ISP’s 'terms of use' (or similar user agreement) probably specifically states that it can terminate a users service if they violate the copyrights of others.  

One way that an ISP can satisfy its own legal obligations is to facilitate its subscribers’ compliance with copyright law – including by terminating subscribers who repeatedly violate copyright laws.  When the ISP notifies its subscriber of an infringement (by passing along a Rightscorp notice or otherwise), the customer remits payment to Rightscorp who passes on a percentage to the copyright owner.

Digital Copyrights & Piracy Background

Click tab to open/close | Expand All | Collapse All
  • Is Filesharing Illegal?

    U.S copyright law, including the changes embodied in The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA,”) calls for substantial penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.  Under established statutory and case law, third parties that assist or are other wise involved in copyright infringement can have vast legal exposure as well.  In the P2P context, an individual subscriber may be the “direct “ infringer of a copyright, but that subscriber’s activities are conducted over the ISP’s facilities.  Accordingly, ISPs that become aware of illegal file-sharing over their networks, but that fail to take steps to mitigate it are at risk of liabilities large enough to put them out of business.  That is why ISPs are serious about illegal P2P activity.  They have to be.

    The United States Code 17 U.S.C. 504. states as follows:

    Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits (2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed wilfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000.

    Obviously, ISPs want to avoid this type of liability.  The DMCA gives ISPs a road map (often referred to as the “safe harbors”) that tells them what they must do to avoid being liable themselves for copyright infringement that is carried on by their subscribers.  ISPs can take advantage of “safe harbour” benefits by helping Rightscorp contact individual subscribers and settle infringement issues with them. 

  • The P2P Landscape

    The most popular access tools are Limewire, BitTorrent and eMule and the most popular corresponding protocols being Gnutella, BitTorrent and eDonkey.

    There are operating companies like Lime Group LLC that sell and market the Limewire access software and BitTorrent, Inc. that market and sell the BitTorrent software. Limewire was sued by the music industry and Universal Music Group specifically.

    A user downloads Limewire software or any number of other free Gnutella clients, installs it on their computer, and searches for a song. The Gnutella client sends a query to the Gnutella network and a list of all of the available versions of the song comes up. The user selects the version that they want. The Gnutella client sends a request for the song out to the network. The previous users who have downloaded the song have the song available on their computer for the next person who wants it. The Gnutella clients literally “talk amongst themselves” without any involvement from the user and the full song gets sent to the requested user in thousands of small pieces from thousands of individual computers. This is what makes it so fast.

    The BitTorrent network works slightly differently. It requires that the user first locate a “torrent” file that contains the detail on the location of the computers that have the source files.

    The industry has developed its own terminology. Seeders are people who have finished downloading 100% of a file and are sharing it for download. Leachers are people who are downloading the file and sharing a small part of it at the same time.

    It is very important to grasp that in order to obtain rapid downloads; a user must allow their computer to upload to the network.

  • If It Is Illegal, Why Does It Continue?

    Under FCC regulations, ISPs are not allowed to block specific types of network traffic. The idea being that if they are allowed to block peer-to-peer traffic, they could also block any type of content, religious or political, a violation of freedom of speech.

    Comcast agreed to pay a $16 million settlement to prevent further litigation after it was found that the company violated regulations by the Federal Communications Commission by regularly blocking peer-to-peer traffic as part of its business practice. Specifically, Comcast was subject to a heated class-action lawsuit elicited by irate customers for blocking P2P file-sharing packets, in particular BitTorrent, in 2007 and 2008. At that time, Comcast denied accusations that it was responsible for slowing down or otherwise impeding BitTorrent, but eventually conceded that it had engaged in controversial network "traffic management" techniques in order to free up bandwidth.

    So ISP’s have the obligation to assist copyright holders in their enforcement of their rights, but the ISPs cannot fullfill that obligation by simply blocking access simply by blocking P2P traffic. 

  • How it Works

    Our technology system monitors the global Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks and sends emails to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the date, time, song title and other specific technology identifiers to confirm the infringement by the ISP’s customer.  Once the ISP is in possession of these facts, they forward the notice, or send a distinct notice, to their customer and to disconnect the services of repeat offenders when appropriate. Rightscorp, Inc. collects this money and pays the copyright owner a percentage of these settlements.

    Every mp3 file that is downloaded has at least two copyrights, a sound recording copyright and a publishing copyright. The publishing copyright is the right to use the song separate from the sound recording such as putting the song in a movie, re-recording the song or printing the lyrics and melody on sheet music. According to US law, copyright owners have the right to be paid when their copyrighted materials are used. We have an agreement with the recording artist, music label or music publisher who owns the copyright cited in the notice sent to violators.

    Our technology monitors the Internet all of the time looking for infringements. When a copyright is infringed upon, we receive the following data

    • Date and Time of infringement
    • Filename
    • ISP Name
    • IP Address
    • Port (similar to the last four digits on your nine-digit zip code)

    We send this data to the ISP in an automated computer format called XML. These emails are called “DMCA notices,” and they follow the format prescribed in subsection 512( c) of the DMCA.  Though the format is the same (for other legal reasons), these notices should not be confused with “Takedown” notices. The ISP keeps “router logs” of all of the activity on their networks. When we send these notices, they cross-reference the data we send with their router logs. By doing this cross reference, the ISP knows which one of their customers was using the IP Address in question at the time and date specified. Due to the DMCA law as described above, they forward these notices to their customer on the customer’s email address. The notice comes to the customer from their ISP, not from Rightscorp, Inc.

    The user who receives the notice, is liable for $150,000 in damages, but if they click on the link supplied, they can enter a credit card and we will settle the matter between them and the copyright owner quickly and affordably.