Undestanding CopyrightWhat are the Peer-to-Peer Filesharing Risks?

Content owners. such as the recording industry, movie studios, and game and software companies, are very aggressive about protecting their copyrights. These include the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In 2003 these groups began a campaign against filesharing Web sites and services and launched a large-scale series of lawsuits against individual file sharers.

In 1998 the U. S. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which provides a mechanism for copyright owners or their agents to complain to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) about any illegal filesharing that is happening on the ISP's network. Xavier qualifies as an ISP.

The RIAA, MPAA and other content owners track the use of their materials using the same peer-to-peer networks that individuals use. They search for a particular copyrighted work on the Internet and when they find their copyrighted work, they are able to identify the unique Internet Protocol (IP) address of the file sharer. They may then issue an infringement notice to Xavier as the ISP, if the file was being made available using our equipment and/or networks.