Monday, August 15, 2011

What Does This Letter I Got From Comcast Mean?

Right now, a lot of people are getting letters from their Internet Service Providers, like Comcast, informing them of something like this:
You have been identified via your assigned Internet Protocol address in <some lawsuit> for allegedly infringing <someone else’s> copyrights on the Internet by uploading and/or downloading a movie using a computer assigned the Internet Protocol address X.X.X.X on <some date>.
Sometimes people get this letter at the same time their Internet service is suspended. I frequently get people asking: “what does this mean?” Basically, it means this. You have been sued. More specifically, a lawsuit, like this one, was filed against your I.P. address. The letter you got from your ISP is letting you know that the entity that sued your I.P. address wants your name, and your ISP is planning to give it to them unless you stop it.
Does this mean you are going to lose your house? No. Although it is true that sometimes these lawsuits are legitimate, sometimes they are not. Some of these are just shakedown cases where a company buys the enforcement rights of unknown movies, frequently porn, and files suit against a thousand or more I.P. addresses expecting a quick and easy settlement. A lawyer named John Steele is notorious for exactly these types of suits.
So if you get a letter from your ISP like the one mentioned above, and you know you did not do what you are being accused of, consider contacting an attorney before responding to the letter in any way. I will cover what else you should do, and maybe should not do, in another post.