ISPs Cracking Down on Illegal Downloaders

by Linda Straker

Senior officials at LIME have confirmed that the company has had its lawyers issue “Cease and Desist” notices to a number of subscribers of its Internet service, because monitoring by owners of copyrighted materials on the Internet has reveal that owners of IP addresses traced to Grenada are engaging in illegal downloading and streaming.

Brent McIntosh who is a member of the company’s management team, said that the problem is mainly in the area of downloading and streaming of movies and music. “Each person who becomes our subscriber to the Internet service is given a unqiue IP address, and monitoring by rightholders have identified that some of these addresses which belong to us are engaging in the illegal activity,” McIntosh told a public forum organised by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) in observance of its 15th anniversary.

“What happens, is that we, as the Internet Service Provider (ISP), will receive copyright infringement notices informing us about the infringement, and at the same time requesting that the necessary legal action is engaged,” McIntosh told the more than 50 person,s many of whom were young adults.

“We in turn will have our lawyers send out those notices to the person assigned the IP address that was identified in the copyright infringement notice we received, asking them to stop the act. There are subscribers who have received more than one notice, but they continue the practice, and as a result a number of subscribers’ contracts were terminated,” he said.

He further explained that the Terms and Conditions in the contract signed when a person becomes a subscriber or accepts the company’s service, clearly spells out the consequences of engaging in copyright infringement.

On average, the company receives between 3 to 5 copyright infringements notices per week from rights owners, and some of these subscribers are now getting classified as “repeat offenders” because they will reactive services using different names when applying for the service.

Grenada’s copyright legislation defines infringement as any act that contravenes any rights protected under the act, while copyright is a property right which subsists in literary and artistic works, that are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain. These include but is not limited to music work with or without accompanying words; audiovisual works; dramatic works, works created for stage production, books, pamphlets, articles, computer programs and other writings, photographic works, works of applied art and work of carnival.

Rights owners have engaged in civil matters, while the law enforcement agencies can treat the matter as a criminal act. A person who is found guilty in the court of committing a copyright infringement for profit-making purposes, on summary conviction can be fined a maximum of EC$50,000 and to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

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