Great Plains Communications has upgraded its ability to monitor its Internet connections for copyright infringement.

Since we want to make sure that all of our High-Speed Internet customers can enjoy the web legally, we wanted to inform our customers what is and isn’t considered protected material and the risks you may be taking when your connection is used to illegally download files.

Not sure what copyright means? Find the answer here

Why do we track those who illegally download using our connections?  Well, in 1998 the Digital Copyright Millennium Act was passed to protect digital versions of creative work.  It also created a series of rules for companies like Great Plains Communications when it comes to protecting others’ copyrighted materials.  If you are discovered to be illegally downloading files or having copyright infringing materials on your computer, consequences can range from temporarily disconnecting an Internet connection to permanent discontinuation of service.

Illegally downloading programs from the Internet, which is often done through file sharing programs such as BitTorrent and Fileshare, can have other serious consequences.  For example, Last year a mom was fined $1.4 million for illegally downloading 24 songs from music service Kazaam.  While the case serves more as a cautionary tale, illegally downloading files including movies, music and TV shows can affect users in different ways.

For example:

  • Hackers love file-sharing programs it is very easy to hide a virus in the downloaded file and then infect the user computer.  It can be impossible to tell what program is real and what is a potentially harmful program.
  • You can lose access to the Internet as mentioned above, the DCMA places demands on Internet providers to help protect their material.  This includes terminating customers who are considered to be repeat offenders.
  • Your kids need to know about illegal downloading consequences– Teens and young adults especially can be tempted by the lure of free music, movies and more.  They also grew up in the era where file sharing was considered OK or at least not harmful.  It’s a much bigger issue now.
  • Your wireless connection should be secure – We recently posted about how an unsecured network can slow down your Internet connection, but an unsecured network can also leave you vulnerable to illegal downloaders looking to avoid using their own connection.  Copyright infringement is tracked by Internet connection so a customer can be held liable even if they weren’t the actual offender.

Have any more questions about making sure you’re not violating copyright law?  Let us know below and we’ll get you an answer!


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