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. identicon
    The AC you responded to above, 1 Feb 2010 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's an interesting idea. Spoofing IPs isn't necessarily rocket science, when it comes to compromised (or perhaps just intentionally evil) mail servers, or the use of a 3rd party proxy. If you think, however, that the ISP can't keep track of the IPs and routers/modems that it owns as part of its direct network, then I'm afraid I have to believe you're just grasping at the smallest of the smallest possibilities for an excuse to save grandma. Throw in that there were 18 different complaints, which very likely were not *all* to the same exact IP but were all linked to her account, and you've got such a tiny chance here. Not impossible, that's true, but improbable.

    Throw in logs of traffic/connections, and you'd have plenty of evidence to prove if the accusation is accurate or not. Regardless of what the rest of the world sees, internal logs can show whether said traffic was going to grandma's modem or not.

    Unless you think that the ISPs internal routers and name servers were hacked to specifically set grandma up. This is an interesting theory.



    Your approach to DMCAs is very interesting, and works to prove your (lack of) knowledge and experience. ISPs take down sites every day upon receiving DMCAs, then allowing the account owner to refute the claim if they want, possibly getting the content re-enabled.

    As an easy example of how misinformed you are, you are suggesting that YouTube videos are taken down by account owners after YouTube e-mails them to let them know that they accidentally infringed on copyrights and that the rightholder sent a DMCA.


    Reality is, buddy, that the service provider takes down content immediately to cover their own asses (OCILLA), and only after an appeal will contested content be re-enabled. In this case, it wasn't a website that was infringing, but the traffic on her account that may have needed to be disabled (depending on whether or not there was a valid DMCA in this case, which we're still somewhat speculating on).


    Please go read the DMCA and OCILLA articles on wikipedia to get your feet wet before you jump in and drown.

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