Don’t assume everyone using your Internet connection knows about the new law.
→ Talk to your family and friends. Make sure everyone knows the basics of the new law. Encourage questions if they aren’t sure about something.
The account holder is liable, will get any notices, and could be ultimately fined by the Copyright Tribunal. The account holder is responsible even if the alleged infringement was done by someone else using the Internet connection.
→ Know who the account holder is at your home. If you think someone else should be the account holder, for example another flatmate or an adult son or daughter, contact your phone company or Internet Service Provider to change the account holder. You may need to get a new Internet connection in the new account holder’s name.
Unfortunately there are no good, free tools that allow an account holder to conveniently control who has access to the home Internet connection or what they do online.
→ Have a family discussion about the new law, the risks, and agree on acceptable Internet use. Make sure you specifically discuss peer-to-peer file sharing and using peer-to-peer software. If you’re still looking for tools, a quick online search will bring up some options.
Your Internet Service Provider usually provides information online about your Internet usage, including the amount you’ve downloaded and uploaded daily. Familiarise yourself with the type of information they provide.
→ If you haven’t already, sign up for online account information. Periodically check it. Keep a lookout for any unusual spikes.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) software is used to exchange (download and upload) files between people. P2P allows users to download files such as music, movies, and games using a file sharing software client that searches for other connected computers (called ‘peers’). Similarly, other computers on the Internet are able to search for files on your computer.
Examples of P2P software includes uTorrent, BitComet, FrostWire, Ares, LimeRunner, and Vuze. There are many others and the list keeps changing.
Having P2P software is legal and can be used for many legal file exchanges. However, you need to keep in mind that the new law specifically targets P2P (see details in InternetNZ press release).
→ Unless you are an advanced Internet user, can manage the risks, and use P2P for legitimate purposes, the law changes makes P2P too risky for most people. Remove all P2P software from your computer. Make sure you remove it completely, including any directories and files associated with the software. This step on its own will hugely reduce your risks from the new law.
→ If you’re an advanced Internet user and decide to continue using P2P, you must understand the risks and take sensible steps to manage them.
It’s possible for viruses and other malware to use your Internet connection without your knowledge or control. Make sure your computer is secure. Also, if you’re using a wireless connection, secure the device and wireless network.
→ Check if you Internet Service Provider has free or paid security services. Consider whether these are suitable for you.
→ Also, here are some sources of information on how to secure your computer and wireless network to get you started:
Securing your wireless network
There are several free online services which provide a degree of anonymity or block “posers” (investigators tracking what you do online and/or what you have on your computer). An example of the former is public/private web proxies while PeerBlock is an example of an IP address blocker/filter.
These online services and tools can be used for both legitimate and illegal purposes.
→ Caution is strongly advised. Use only those services and tools with a good reputation.
→ Here are some things you should know about these services and tools:
Many copyright owners take detection and prosecution of copyright infringement very seriously. Some like the Motion Picture Association or the Recording Industry Association of America have significant resources and determination to go after infringers. If anything, they can be overzealous so don’t underestimate the seriousness of the new law.
There are many ways that copyright owners detect infringement of their work. Sophisticated technologies include digital fingerprinting/watermarking, automated webcrawlers, and countermeasures.
Three common detection methods used are: