Tenant internet copyright infringement

by Readers Question

15:37 PM, 3rd October 2017
About A year ago

Tenant internet copyright infringement

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Tenant internet copyright infringement

I rent out a property where the rent is all inclusive of bills including internet.

I have just received an email from the Internet Service Provider informing me that they have been notified of a copyright infringement – I.e. A tenant illegally downloading movies online.

In this scenario, as I am the landlord who pays the internet bill, can I be liable even though I do not live at the property nor do I download anything.

Regards,
Henry



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:46 PM, 3rd October 2017
About A year ago

Hi Henry,

From the .Gov Site >> https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-alleging-online-copyright-infringement/letters-alleging-online-copyright-infringement

It’s important to understand that the copyright owner can only take action against people responsible for an infringement. This may not be you. Your internet service provider (ISP) can only provide them with details of the internet account holder, but this may not be sufficient for you to be held responsible for the infringement.

3. How did the copyright holder get your details?

When files are copied from common file sharing services, such as those relying on the BitTorrent protocol, users will normally be uploading and sharing the same content due to the way these systems work. The IP addresses of all users currently sharing the file are visible. Copyright owners have systems to collect these IP addresses where they believe users are sharing material without their permission.

A copyright owner may then apply to the court for a Norwich Pharmacal Order. If granted by the court, this order requires an ISP to give copyright owners names and addresses of account holders alleged to have committed the copyright infringement based on the IP address information.

4. What should you do if you receive a notification of alleged copyright infringement?

If you are unsure how to respond seek legal advice. Don’t ignore the letter. Even if you believe that you or anyone with access to your internet connection hasn’t shared the copyright protected material without the copyright owner’s permission. You should respond, even if you request more time to seek advice before you provide a more detailed response.

If you don’t know anything about the alleged copyright infringement check the letter is genuine. There are scams operating where letters are sent to try and gain compensation from you when you might not have to pay. Your ISP may be able to tell you if the letter is part of a legitimate enforcement process.

You should also consider checking with anyone who might have access to your internet connection. For example family and friends who may have your permission and password to use your wi-fi. They may have downloaded or uploaded copyright protected material, and they may be responsible for the alleged infringement.

It is the responsibility of the copyright owner to prove who has committed the infringement. This may or may not be the internet account holder.

5. Where to get further advice

citizens advice consumer helpline (03454 04 05 06 Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
your Internet Service Provider (such as BT, Sky, Talktalk, and Virgin) and other online sources
get legal advice from a solicitor

Puzzler

17:01 PM, 3rd October 2017
About A year ago

Neil, he's stated it's a tenanted property.
Henry, once you know for sure it's genuine then provide the tenant's details. In the meantime inform the tenant that downloading copyright protected material is breaking the law. You should provide terms of use in any case (as in hotels) which will say that.

David George

9:53 AM, 5th October 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 03/10/2017 - 17:01
Puzzler - what if you're running an HMO and therefore can't easily provide the relevant tenant's details?

Mandy Thomson

18:15 PM, 5th October 2017
About A year ago

I would advise Henry to respond with proof of his own address and explain that the property is tenanted and he doesn't live there. It is the user who is liable, not the bill payer.

Neil Patterson

9:12 AM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

From my IT friend:

"It's a 3 strikes then they actually take action rule (though they never will take action, more on this later), so they will get 3 letters saying they have infringed and then theres the possibility of further action, however in 99.9% of cases its purely being used a scare tactic by copyright holders, since the copyright holder can never in fact prove that the IP has not been spoofed or piggybacked they can never actually pin an ip address down to a specific person.

Basically they have nothing to worry about but yes they should tell the tenant to stop doing things illegaly and buy their films through itunes or amazon.

or if they want to be more helpful tell them to run any dubious/personal data through a vpn service (which then means the ip address seen by the copyright holder is actually just a proxy machine and not the users ip address).

Basically they will never be taken to court etc as the ISP’s themselves don’t want the hassle of doing it (think how many people illegally download game of thrones etc… it would be a nightmare to properly police)."


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