Sometimes, we may receive an E-mail to our 'network abuse' E-mail box informing us that someone using a public IP address we maintain has been caught downloading or sharing copyrighted material illegally. This IP address will be assigned to a particular Wessex Internet customer, and therefore we can track this activity back to a single customer account. A public IP address is the equivalent of your full postal address, where there can of course be no ambiguity on whose home it is.
What are they, and when do you receive these alerts?
The copyright infringement E-mail that we receive could be as a result of a customer sharing or downloading a film or song via BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing network. It could involve downloading or uploading copyrighted software. In fact it could be relating to any sort of downloading, transferring, sharing, uploading, distribution of copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission. This is by not means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
Downloading or sharing copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission is against our terms & conditions, not to mention that it's probably illegal and not fair to the copyright holder.
How do I know who was responsible for this activity on my account? We have lots of people who use it.
We have no capability of knowing which individual person was responsible for this activity, as we and the copyright holder only see the public IP address which is assigned to your account - your entire business or household connection.
We don't see the internal or private IP address of the device that was used.
Therefore it would be up to you to ensure that you do you own investigations and ask around to see if anyone knows anything about this. Chances are that someone will know!
How do I prevent this activity again, or block BitTorrent?
The easiest way is to educate the Internet users using your account not to do this again.
As we don't block any applications, websites or services on individual Internet connection, a block on BitTorrent or any other site is not something that we can implement at network layer.
If you are a business user or would like to purchase an advanced firewall with content and application filtering, please get in touch as this is something that we can provide and help set up. This type of device would be capable of blocking most file sharing applications that are commonly used to distribute copyrighted material illegally.
What will Wessex Internet do if you receive an alert?
If one of our customer's have been caught, and we trace this back using their IP address, then we will forward on the information and evidence from the copyright holder or their representative dealing with the case, and ask the customers to take the relevant action they see fit. This probably will involve taking steps to stop this activity happening again.
We don't act as the Police, so we will take it no further at this stage. We purely inform the customer.
If we continue to receive alerts relating to the customer's account after a first warning, then we will make a stronger case for this activity to cease as it will no only probably result in further action to the customer which would obviously be not desired, it may harm our IP address reputation.
If a third instance is detected, then at our sole discretion will will terminate the end customer's account.
Is my private information shared with the copyright holder?
Unless we receive a validated court order, your private information will not be disclosed.