The Copyright Police Still Don't Get It...

Well, it appears that AFACT's lawsuit against iiNet has persuaded other ISPs to start passing on those infringement notices to people using Bittorrent for piracy. A regular tipster has just forwarded through an infringement notice from TPG, and while we don't condone piracy here at Giz, the bubble of fantasy that the studios (in this case CBS) are living in is just too large to not want to try and pop.

Here's the letter from TPG. I've taken out some info for privacy reasons:

Dear Customer,

Attached is an email that TPG has received complaining about certain conduct. The IP Address and timestamps provided by the complainant indicate that the conduct occurred over your TPG Service.

Infringement IP address: XX.XXX.XX.XX Infringement timestamp (SYD): 2009-11-25 12:22:56

TPG does not condone the use of TPG Services for activities which are offensive, illegal or infringe on the legal rights of other persons. Such activities are expressly stated in your agreement with us as being a basis on which TPG may suspend or terminate the supply of services to you.

It is alleged in the attached complaint that you, or someone authorised by you, have engaged in such an activity. If you agree that you did engage in the activity, please cease it immediately. If you do not believe that you have engaged in the activity complained about or you believe that the activity is not illegal, offensive or an infringement of another person's rights, please contact the complainant in writing as soon as possible and explain your position to them.

If the complaint is about spam, it may be that your equipment has been compromised by a hacker. Please obtain an up to date antivirus system and ensure that your machines are cleaned as a matter of urgency. If you fail to do so and the spam persists, TPG may take steps to limit the spam by suspending your service.

If you have any questions about this email or our Terms and Conditions, please contact Customer Service on 13 14 23 or [email protected]

Thank you.

Kind Regards,

Internet Abuse Team TPG Internet

And here's the attached email:

TPG Internet Pty, Ltd. 65 Waterloo Road North Ryde, NSW 2113 AU

RE: Unauthorized Distribution of the Copyrighted Television Series Entitled 90210

Dear TPG Abuse Department:

We are writing this letter on behalf of the relevant subsidiaries of CBS Corporation.

We have received information that an individual has utilized the below-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted television programs through a "peer-to-peer" service, including such title(s) as:

Navy: NCIS 90210

The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted television programs constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.

Since you own this IP address (XX.XXX.XX.XX), we request that you immediately do the following:

1) Remove or disable access to the individual who has engaged in the conduct described above; and

2) Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement.

We also would request that you inform the individual who engaged in this conduct that legitimate copies of CBS content are widely available for viewing online, for example on www.cbs.com and many other sites that participate in the CBS Audience Network.

On behalf of CBS, owner of the exclusive rights in the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state that we have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by CBS, its respective agents, or the law.

Also, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and that we are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights being infringed as set forth in this notification.

Please direct any end user queries to the following:

[email protected]

Please include the Case ID XXXXXXXXXX, also noted above, in the subject line of all future correspondence regarding this matter.

We appreciate your assistance and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response is requested.

Respectfully,

A Kempe Enforcement Coordinator MediaSentry

Now, I'm all for CBS's right to protect their copyrighted material. But heres the thing CBS: if you're going to tell someone that they can't download your content illegally, don't turn around and tell them that there are plenty of legal options when there aren't. You've got region blocking on your website, which means that Australians have no way of accessing your content legally. Your shows aren't even up on iTunes in Australia, the only real legal channel we have for TV downloads. And while I've never had any inclination to watch either of the two shows this infringement notice deals with, I think it's fairly safe to say that the Australian TV networks probably did a great job of shafting viewers if and when they started showing them.

Now, I know that it's almost definitely a stock standard form letter that they send out to millions of ISPs worldwide on a daily basis. But that doesn't mean they're in the right. If they took half the money they were throwing at lawyers who just spent their day following torrents and sending out form infringement notices and invested it in providing a real legal online option for everyone online, not just the US, then I guarantee global piracy would drop significantly.

Threatening letters isn't going to solve the problem, just push it further underground.

[Thanks GP]

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