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Frequently Asked Questions about Copyrights and Verizon’s Copyright Alert Program

 

Is it illegal to share copyrighted material?
What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?
What are the legal penalties for violating the copyright laws?
What is Verizon's Copyright Alert Program?
What is the Center for Copyright Information (CCI)?
Why is Verizon participating in the Copyright Alert Program?
How does Verizon's Copyright Alert Program work?
What can you do if you think the alerts you received are invalid?
How do copyright owners identify accounts that may be involved with copyright infringement?
How does Verizon protect my privacy?
What if I have questions about specific copyright violations on my account?
What do I do if I'm sure that I have not infringed any copyrights?
What is "fair use"?
I've lost the alert(s) you sent me - can I view them anywhere else online?
Is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing risky?
How do I uninstall P2P software from my computer?
How do I remove copyrighted material from my computer?
If I am using a wireless router or modem, how do I protect my home network?

 

Is it illegal to share copyrighted material?

File sharing copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner or its authorized representative is in many instances unlawful and can subject those who do so to potential civil and criminal liability. This is called copyright “infringement” and it not only violates U.S. copyright law, it also violates Verizon's Acceptable Use Policy and Terms of Service. Verizon's Acceptable Use Policy specifically states that you must not violate Verizon's or any third party's copyright, trademark, proprietary or other intellectual property rights. For more information about copyrights and content piracy generally, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office's website at www.copyright.gov or the Center for Copyright Information’s website at www.copyrightinformation.org.

 

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What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

The DMCA was passed in 1998 by the U.S. Congress to protect copyrighted works in the digital age while providing important protections for online service providers to ensure the free flow of information. Additional information about the DMCA is available at the U. S. Copyright office's website at http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf.

 

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What are the legal penalties for violating the copyright laws?

Copyright infringement is unlawful and can subject infringers to potential civil and criminal liability. Additional information about copyright infringement is available at the U. S. Copyright office's website at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html

 

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What is Verizon's Copyright Alert Program?

In July 2011, Verizon joined four other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the major and independent music labels and movie and television studios in signing an agreement that established a more standard approach to sending copyright alerts to Internet subscribers that the copyright owners have identified as alleged infringers. This new framework, which is described in more detail below and in the Verizon Copyright Alert Program description, which can be found by clicking on the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of any page of our Website, includes a series of alerts that we pass on to our subscribers on behalf of the copyright owners. These alerts are designed to let you know when your Verizon Internet account is potentially being used unlawfully to infringe the copyright law.

In many respects, our new program is very similar to the program we've had in place for several years in which we forwarded similar copyright alerts to our subscribers via email, voice mail and, in certain cases, US mail. What is different about our new program is the manner in which we will notify you of possible infringing activity through pop-up messages requiring you to acknowledge the alerts and, in cases where we continue to receive multiple notices about your account from the copyright owners, through a temporary reduction in the speed of your service. Our new program is also designed to provide you with more and better access to information about the security and legal risks associated with the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) or file sharing networks, and to give you information about ways to obtain music, video and other content lawfully.

More information about the copyright alert system that we, other ISPs and the content community have developed can be found on the Center for Copyright Information's website at www.copyrightinformation.org.

 

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What is the Center for Copyright Information (CCI)?

The CCI is an organization formed by the organizations that represent U.S. content creators (including the major movie studios, record labels and the independent studios and labels), and leading ISPs. The CCI is dedicated to implementing a Copyright Alert system designed to deter online P2P copyright infringement through a series of educational messages and alerts. CCI's objective is to educate consumers about the importance of protecting copyrights in the digital environment, the risks of P2P and file-sharing, and ways to get content lawfully, while at the same time respecting the legitimate privacy interests of Internet users. The organizations which founded the CCI include the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as 5 major ISPs -- AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. CCI also benefits from the expertise of an Advisory Board comprised of leading consumer advocates, privacy and online education specialists and technical experts.

 

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Why is Verizon participating in the Copyright Alert Program?

Verizon is participating in the Copyright Alert Program to help you learn about possible copyright infringement associated with your Verizon Internet account. The program uses a series of different types of alerts to do two things: alert you about potential infringing activity involving your account and educate you about the security and legal risks associated with the use of P2P file-sharing networks and about ways to obtain music, video and other content lawfully.

 

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How does Verizon's Copyright Alert Program work?

The goal of our program is to alert you about possible copyright infringement involving your account so that you, as the account owner, can take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. The program uses an escalating approach to sending alerts that starts with email and recorded voice mail alerts. If we receive more than two notices related to your account, we will send you an alert via a web page pop-up that will require you to click to acknowledge receipt of the alert. If we receive a fifth copyright notice from copyright owners related to your account, we will send you an alert via a web page pop-up notifying you that, unless you elect to seek an independent review of the validity of the notices you received (see below for more details), your Internet access service speed will be temporarily reduced for a period of 2 days to a rate of 256Kbps (a little faster than typical dial-up speed). We will let you know 14 days before any reduction in speed is scheduled to occur. The same process will apply if you receive a sixth alert except that the temporary speed reduction will be for 3 days rather than 2.

Finally, our Copyright Alert Program is designed to promote education and awareness of copyright issues and does not include termination of service at any stage of the process.

For more information about how the Copyright Alert Program works, please review the Verizon Copyright Alert Program description, which can be found by clicking on the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of any page of our Website.

 

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What can you do if you think the alerts you received are invalid?

Our Copyright Alert Program allows you to seek review by an independent reviewer, the American Arbitration Association (AAA), of the alerts you have received. The opportunity to seek review is available once you have received a fifth or sixth copyright alert from us. If you receive a fifth or sixth copyright alert, and if you believe that the alerts were sent to you in error or that your use of the content meets one of the other available reasons for invalidating alerts, you can request that the AAA review your case by filing an appeal with the AAA within fourteen (14) days of the date of the applicable fifth or sixth alert. There is a $35.00 fee (payable to the AAA) to file for review, and the fee will be refunded if your appeal is successful. For subscribers who meet certain need-based criteria, the AAA can waive the filing fee.

The AAA will review the validity of your copyright alerts and let you (and us) know the results of its review. We will not apply the temporary speed reduction to your service while your review is pending. If the AAA finds in your favor, no temporary speed reduction will be applied to your service and we will remove all notices of alleged infringement from your account. If the AAA finds that the alerts are valid, the temporary 2 or 3 day speed reduction will be applied to your service. The review process is confidential and AAA will not identify you to the copyright owner(s) who have sent the notices of alleged copyright infringement unless you authorize it to do so. For more details about the AAA independent review process, please visit www.copyrightinformation.org.

 

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How do copyright owners identify accounts that may be involved with copyright infringement?

For several years, copyright owners have been using certain automated techniques to identify Internet users who they believe are engaged in possible infringing activity via P2P networks. When a copyright owner identifies an instance of possible infringement, it sends the user's ISP a notice that contains the name of the copyrighted work, the date and time of the alleged infringement and the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer that is alleged to be sharing copyrighted content. The ISP matches the IP address sent by the copyright owner to the specific customer to whom that IP address was assigned at that time, and then forwards the information provided by the content owner to that user without identifying the user to the copyright owner(s).

 

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How does Verizon protect my privacy?

The copyright owners do not know the actual identity of the user assigned to the IP address associated with activity that they believe may constitute copyright infringement. While we, as your ISP, know the customer assigned to a particular IP address, we do not share that information with the copyright owners as part of the Copyright Alert Program. We will only provide your identity under the program with your permission or if we receive a legal demand (such as a subpoena or court order) to do so. Any information we do provide as part of the Copyright Alert Program will be in a form that does not personally identify you.

 

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What if I have questions about specific copyright violations on my account?

You can find additional information by reviewing the Verizon's Copyright Alert Program description, which can be found by clicking on the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of any page of our Website. You may also call the Verizon Copyright Notification team at 1-866-286-6865. Finally, you can visit the CCI's website at www.copyrightinformation.org for additional information on copyright infringement, the Copyright Alert Program in which Verizon participates, and for more information on what to do if you receive an alert.

 

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What do I do if I'm sure that I have not infringed any copyrights?

If you receive a copyright alert, we recommend that you confirm that the content referred to in the alert is on any computer or other device with access to your Internet service and check to see if your computer or other device has any P2P or file sharing software on it. You should also contact any others who have access to your Internet service and discuss the alert with them. If you have a wireless router, please refer to the "If I am using a wireless router/modem, how do I protect my home network?" question and answer below for more information on ways to secure your home network.

 

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What is "fair use"?

Fair use is a legal doctrine that permits, in certain limited circumstances, the use of portions of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holder. Determining fair use is not an easy concept and the defense oftentimes is not available. We recommend that you consult with your attorney before seeking to raise a fair use defense. For more information about fair use, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office's website at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

 

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I've lost the alert(s) you sent me - can I view them anywhere else online?

You may view your copyright alerts online by logging onto myverizon.com in with your Verizon User ID and password and clicking the link that appears in the pop up message to access your Alleged Copyright Violation Notifications history.

 

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Is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing risky?

Yes, it can be. Aside from the legal liability for unlawful infringement described above, the use of P2P software can expose your computer and other devices to harmful viruses, spyware and other malware that can compromise your privacy. This can happen by using P2P and file-sharing software and downloading files you may think are music or video files but are really malware that can secretly steal your passwords, personal information, or bank account or credit card numbers.

 

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How do I uninstall P2P software from my computer?

You can remove P2P software and copyrighted material from your computer by following these instructions. You will need the name of the P2P so you can locate and remove it.

Windows 8 Users

In the Programs window in the Control Panel, use the Uninstall a Program function to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.
  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel by pressing the Windows Key + X key to open a task list.
  3. Select Control Panel
  4. Select Uninstall a Program under Programs
  5. Look for P2P software on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall. Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  6. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.
Windows 7 Users

Use the Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.
  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can access Control Panel from your computer's Start logo.
  3. Double click on the Programs icon.
  4. Look for P2P software on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall.

  5. Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  6. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.
Windows Vista Users Use the Programs and Features window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.
  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can access Control Panel from your computer's Start logo.
  3. Double click on the Programs and Features icon.
  4. Look for P2P software on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall.

    Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Windows XP Users Use the Add/Remove Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.
  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can access Control Panel from your computer's Start logo.
  3. Double click on the Add/Remove Programs or Add or Remove Programs icon.
  4. Select Change or Remove Programs.

    Click once to highlight the software you would like to remove, then click on the Remove or Change/Remove button.

    Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, when prompted to reboot the computer, click No. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.
Mac Users
  1. Quit all file-sharing programs.
  2. Locate the folder containing the P2P software that you want to remove. It is usually in the Applications folder.
  3. Double-click the P2P program's folder to examine its contents.
  4. Some Macintosh-compatible P2P programs come with an "uninstall" program. If you see an "Uninstall" or "Uninstaller" program, run it to remove the P2P software.

    If you do not see such a program, go back to the Applications folder, and move the P2P program's folder into the trash.

  5. Empty your computer's trash folder.
  6. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart to reboot your computer.

 

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How do I remove copyrighted material from my computer?

You can remove copyrighted material from your computer by following these instructions.

Windows Users
  1. Review the copyright alert(s) sent to you by Verizon. The alert(s) will contain the name of the file(s) that is alleged to be infringing material.
  2. Enter this file name into your Search window to locate it on your PC. Then delete the file from your PC.
  3. Repeat this process for each copyrighted work listed on each alert we sent you.
  4. Empty your Trash folder and reboot your computer.
Mac Users
  1. Go to Find.
  2. Review the copyright alert(s) sent to you by Verizon. It will contain the name of the file(s) that is alleged to be infringing material. Enter this file name into your Search window to locate it on your Mac and press Delete to remove this file(s) from your Mac.
  3. Repeat this process for each copyrighted work listed on each alert we sent you.
  4. Empty your Trash bin and reboot your Mac.
Note: Verizon Technical Support cannot help with removal of P2P software or copyrighted material. You may want to consider subscribing to Verizon's Premium Technical Support service. To learn more, please visit us at Premium Technical Support.

 

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If I am using a wireless router or modem, how do I protect my home network?

Verizon recommends using the strongest network encryption compatible with your network devices to prevent others from accessing your connection without your permission. In most cases, that is WPA2 encryption. However, you will notice some older routers or modems may not be compatible with WPA2 encryption. In those instances, WPA is the preferred encryption because it is still stronger than WEP. For step-by-step instructions for upgrading your network security, please visit router setup page and select the router you are using and the type of encryption you prefer.

Finally, one of the most effective ways to protect your computers and data from unwanted intrusions is to use updated firewall software. You should also install and use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and keep your software up to date. There are many different types of security software available, including the Verizon Internet Security Suite. For more information about how firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware software work and to sign-up for the Verizon Internet Security Suite software, which includes a built-in-firewall, please visit us at Verizon Internet Security Suite.

 

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See Also:
Arbitration and Mediation for Residential Customers
Legal Process Compliance
Verizon Copyright Alert Program
Verizon Security Control Center
Verizon Unlawful Call Center


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