When was the last time you watched a DVD or VHS cassette? When did you purchase a CD? Whether it was music or video, it probably contained an FBI warning. Copyright protects the value of creative work, and any unauthorized reproduction or distribution is breaking the law.
Internet providers are required to follow-up on each occurrence. It's a time consuming process, and most often, the response from customers is the same: "I didn't know that I had done something wrong." When using the Internet, there isn't a warning that tells you that your actions are illegal – but the weight of the law still applies. Federal law allows for severe penalties, including loss of your Internet service. Fortunately, knowledge is power, and the following information can save you from committing a crime.
• Copyright law protects literary works, paintings, photographs, drawings, films, music, choreography, sculptures and many other things.
• If you copy or distribute copyrighted work, you can be prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued for damages in civil court.
• It is illegal to download unauthorized copies of any copyrighted material – even if you don't intend on sharing it or passing it along to others.
• Peer-to-Peer networks allow Internet users to link their computers with other computers around the world. If you allow a file-sharing network to use part of your computer's hard drive to store copyrighted material that anyone can access and download, it's illegal.
• File Sharing is the distribution of data (documents, music, videos, images, e-books or any other digitally stored information) through the use of a peer-to-peer network, e-mail, etc.
• Peer-to- Peer, commonly known as P2P, is a giant network of computers in which each user installs and runs software to connect to this network.
• Torrent or bit torrent is very similar to other P2P programs (like LimeWire, Kazza etc.). Torrents integrate themselves into your web browser (example: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari etc.) and create a new file type ".tor" (abbreviated for torrent) within the Windows operating system, similar for the Macintosh operating system. When finding a file that you wish to download, the download will initially start as a small file but then builds itself from other users around the globe until your download is complete. While you are downloading, other users begin to connect to you and get file chunks from you.
Copyright infringement is a serious matter. For more information about file sharing, visit PenTeleData at
www.ptd.net/peer2peer or go to www.ptd.net and choose the Customer Service Menu – Viruses and Security – then choose Peer to Peer FAQ.