News.com Prevents Falsely Accused Grandmother Of Getting Kicked Off The Internet By The MPAA

from the but-who-will-protect-anyone-else? dept

One of the problems we've had with the whole "three strikes" concept that would kick people off the internet due to accusations, not convictions, of file sharing, is the fact that we hear all the time about innocent users accused of file sharing. Greg Sandoval, over at News.com recently came across a grandmother who was falsely accused multiple times of file sharing, and her ISP, Qwest, was threatening to kick her off the internet. We had not heard that Qwest had signed on with a "three strikes" program, so it's a bit of news that it's one of the companies who will accept bogus accusations. Not only that, but Qwest even told her that no other provider would grant her service because Qwest would let those other service providers "know her name and what she did." Thanks, Qwest!

The problem, of course, was that Cathi Paradiso didn't share any of the movies or TV shows she was accused of sharing, and she works from home as a recruiter -- so losing her internet access would be devastating. But the only way she got Qwest to back down was because Sandoval and News.com became interested in the story and convinced Qwest to look deeper. But if Paradiso hadn't been able to draw attention to herself from the press, she would have had no recourse. There was no one she could appeal to, and no official process to respond to the bogus claims of Hollywood. She got lucky that News.com was willing to pick up her story and contact Qwest, but what about anyone else threatened with bogus notices? Meanwhile, BayTSP, the company whose "evidence" has been shown to be flimsy and easily falsified in the past, stands by accusing her of file sharing, saying it was her own fault for having an open WiFi network, suggesting there's something inherently wrong with sharing your WiFi. Yes, the company stands by its false accusation. Nice company.

Filed Under: due process, false accusation, file sharing, three strikes
Companies: baytsp, qwest


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Feb 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    To everyone repeating the same "kicking grandma without proof" nonsense, they didn't. They had proof.

    No, that is incorrect. They had an IP address. That is not proof of very much at all. Is it possible that there was an issue on her account? Yes, perhaps, but that is not proof.

    The infringing account had action taken against it, and that's not nearly as unfair or crazy as some of you seem to think.

    When it punished an innocent person, why yes, that does seem quite unfair.

    It's not the ISP's job to care exactly what(or whose) computer is infringing, it's their job to identify what account on their network is infringing, and take steps to correct it.

    No, that is not an ISPs job at all. They have no legal responsibility to do so at all.

    Would it be *nice* of them to try to help Grandma identify the unauthorized use of her personal network? Probably. Is that their responsibility? No.

    Would it be *nice* of an ISP to act as copyright cop for an obsolete industry? Probably. Is that their responsibility? No.

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