Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) FAQ
What is the DMCA?
What should I do if I received a DMCA notice?
What are the consequences of receiving a DMCA notice?
Aren't the files on my computer private?
Has my personal information been disclosed?
Why didn't I receive the DMCA notice in my email?
What if I am innocent?
How do I dispute the allegation?
Is torrenting illegal?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US law that deals with copyright infringement on the internet. One of the requirements of the DMCA is that internet service providers like Antietam Broadband notify subscribers when an allegation of copyright infringement has been made against them.
For additional information about the DMCA, see https://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
What should I do if I receive a DMCA/copyright infringement notice?
- Read the notice thoroughly and act on the information contained in it. Most commonly, this will require you to delete the files listed in the notice from any devices to which they were downloaded. You should also delete any other files any member of your household may have obtained illegally, regardless of whether or not you have yet received a notice about it.
- If you have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities, seek legal advice from a lawyer. Antietam cannot offer legal advice.
- Talk to all household members and guests who use your internet connection about the importance of complying with copyright law.
- If you suspect that a neighbor or passerby may have used your Wi-Fi to commit copyright infringements, change the password to the router and do not give it out to anyone without being assured that they will not infringe.
What are the potential consequences of receiving DMCA violation notices?
If a subscriber stops violating copyright law after having been warned, there will likely be no further consequences.
If a subscriber continues receiving DMCA notices after being warned, or if Antietam determines that its Acceptable Use Policies have been violated, the subscriber will likely have their data services suspended or their account terminated.
Copyright holders do have the right to sue people whom they believe have infringed on their copyright. Although this can be a lengthy and expensive legal process, it is relatively rare. But the potential for such is real and should serve as a strong motivating factor for subscribers to comply with the law.
I received a DMCA violation notice containing the names of files I have on my computer or phone. Has my privacy been violated?
Antietam Broadband does not access files on your computer unless you authorize limited access for trouble-shooting purposes during a support call. Nor does Antietam monitor the content of files you access or post online.
DMCA notices do not originate from Antietam; they originate from those who own the copyright, or agents authorized to act on their behalf. Antietam simply passes the notices on to our subscribers, as required by law.
Most DMCA notices sent to Antietam customers allege use of torrent software (such as BitTorrent, µTorrent, or Vuze) to access copyright-protected media for free. The folder or directory to which the torrent program saves files is shared with other torrent users. Anyone using torrent software can access the files in that publicly-shared folder; copyright holders and their agents often check shared torrent folders to see if any infringing content can be identified. They cannot access other files on your computer that you have not shared.
Does the copyright company have my personal information?
Not unless you contact them and reveal that you are the person associated with the IP address in the notice.
When a copyright holder or their agent identifies a file that they believe has been downloaded illegally, the only information they have about the entity who allegedly committed that violation is their computer’s IP address (a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network). The copyright holder or their agent can tell which Internet Service Provider owns that IP address, but not which subscriber was using the IP address at the time of the violation.
When Antietam receives an allegation of copyright infringement, we determine which customer account was using the IP address listed in the notice at the time of the alleged violation. We then pass the notice on to that customer. We will not provide any information about the customer to copyright holders or their agents unless properly subpoenaed, which usually follows a court order and notice.
The first I heard about this was when I received a phone call. Why didn’t I receive the DMCA notice through email?
DMCA notices are sent to your preferred email address if you have provided us with one; if not, we use your master myactv.net email address, set up at the time of account creation. The most common reason customers don’t receive their DMCA email is because they haven’t provided their preferred email address—or the preferred email address we have on file is out of date—and they don’t check their myactv.net email.
If we don’t have your current preferred email address, you can update it yourself through MyServices or contact support for help. This will allow you to receive not only DMCA notices, but also other important notices, such as high data usage warnings and announcements about new services or changes to our services.
A less common reason you may not have received a DMCA notice is because of a temporary problem with your email account (such as a full mailbox). You may wish to check that you are receiving other types of email properly.
It is also possible that the DMCA notice was directed to your Junk or Spam folder by your email provider or client. Antietam has done extensive testing with many major email providers, such as gmail, hotmail, and yahoo, to ensure delivery to the Inbox. But if you have changed the default settings on your spam filters to be very stringent (for example, only allowing email from a defined list of senders), a DMCA notice may not have appeared in the Inbox. Check your spam folder to see if the notice is there. You can also modify your settings to ensure that email from Antietam Broadband is always sent to the Inbox.
I didn’t commit the copyright infringement listed in the notice. What should I do?
Certain DMCA notices have been acknowledged by the industry to be either inconclusive or in error. However, based on past analyses of customer data usage patterns, Antietam believes that most notices are accurate.
Before asserting that the notice you received is in error, please consider the following points:
- A guest or minor child may have committed the copyright infringement without the primary account holder’s knowledge. Talk to all household members and guests about the importance of respecting copyright law and the potential negative consequences for not doing so.
- A neighbor or passerby may have used your Wi-Fi connection without your permission. Make sure you have secured your router with a complex password, and change it periodically, especially after it may have been used to commit copyright infringement.
If after evaluating the above points, you still feel certain that the allegation is in error, you may file a DMCA Counter Notice (see below).
How do I dispute a DMCA violation notice?
If after evaluating the above criteria, you believe that a DMCA notice has been sent to you in error, and that you either did not download, upload, post, or share the file in question, or that you had a legal right to do so, you may file a DMCA counter notice with Antietam Broadband’s Designated DMCA Agent.
The counter notice must provide the following information:
- A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber.
- Identification of the material in question, and where it is or was located.
- A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the allegation of copyright infringement was made as a result of mistake or misidentification.
- The subscriber's name, address, telephone number and email address.
- A statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriber's address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber will accept service of process from the person who provided notification or an agent of such person.
Should I uninstall my torrent software?
Software that takes advantage of BitTorrent protocol is legal; you are not required by law or by Antietam's policies to uninstall such software. Using that software to download, upload, or share files protected by copyright without having the legal right to do so or paying for them is illegal.
Some customers have found that uninstalling BitTorrent software is, practically speaking, the best solution for their household to avoid repeated copyright violations and negative consequences such as suspension or even disconnection of service. Particularly if the household contains minor children (who may not understand the importance of complying with copyright law, or who might forget), it may be a good idea for parents to remove BitTorrent software from their chlidren's device(s) and to forbid them from installing or using BitTorrent again.
If you wish to continue using BitTorrent, but are uncertain how to ensure that you only legally access content, try searching for 'free legal BitTorrent'. These services can help you identify content that is legitimately free, such as open-source software, recordings by up-and-coming artists, authorized concert recordings, and movies by independent artists available under the Creative Commons license.