Key Takeaways:

  • An Internet service provider (ISP) may formally notify a user of possible copyright infringement on their network by sending them a copyright infringement notice.
  • The notice usually contains information on the allegedly infringed content, the IP address linked to the infringement, and the copyright holder’s contact details.
  • It’s not always the case that you violate copyright just because you get a copyright infringement notification from your ISP. It acts as a warning, making you aware of the problem and obliged to address and rectify it.
  • Ignoring an ISP warning of copyright infringement or failing to take the right steps can lead to worse outcomes, like having your internet service cut off or being sued by the owner of the copyright.

Have you ever received an ISP copyright infringement notice in your inbox? If you have, you’re not alone.

It can be somewhat concerning, as many internet users have experienced similar circumstances.

The purpose of this notification, how it’s found, and what you can do about it will all be covered in this article.

We’ll also explore ways to avoid copyright infringement and the possible consequences of ignoring such notices.

What is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement is the unauthorised use or distribution of copyrighted material, such as movies, music, software, or books, without permission from the copyright holder.

When you engage in this activity, you are essentially stealing someone else’s intellectual property and potentially causing them financial harm.

Types of Copyright Infringement

There are two main types of copyright infringement: direct and indirect.

Direct infringement occurs when someone copies or distributes copyrighted content without permission.

Indirect infringement, on the other hand, occurs when someone facilitates or contributes to the infringement, such as by providing a platform for sharing copyrighted content.

Understanding ISP Copyright Infringement Notice

copyright infringement notice

An ISP (Internet Service Provider) copyright infringement notice is a warning sent by your ISP, informing you that they have detected copyright-infringing activity on your internet connection.

ISPs are often required by law to monitor their users’ activities and report any suspected infringement to the copyright holder or legal authority.

Copyright Infringement and Malware: A Surprising Connection

There is a significant correlation between IP addresses that receive copyright infringement notices and those that receive malware notices. This correlation can be attributed to several factors.

First, individuals who engage in copyright infringement may also be more likely to engage in other illegal or risky online activities, such as downloading pirated software or visiting sketchy websites, which can increase their risk of malware infections.

Second, some forms of copyright infringement, such as peer-to-peer file sharing, can increase the risk of malware infections.

File-sharing networks can be a source of malware-infected files, and individuals who engage in file-sharing may be more likely to inadvertently download malware.

Third, ISPs may use the same methods to detect both copyright infringement and malware infections, such as monitoring network traffic or using automated tools to detect suspicious activity.

Overall, the correlation between the IP address that receives the copyright infringement notification and the one that receives malware notices highlights the importance of safe and legal online behavior.

To reduce the risk of receiving both types of notices, individuals should use legal online services for downloading or streaming original content, avoid visiting sketchy websites or downloading suspicious files, and use antivirus software and other security measures to protect their devices from malware infections.

Which Businesses Send Notices for the Violation of Copyright?

Several companies and organisations send copyright infringement letters to individuals who engage in illegal activities online.

Here are some of the most common entities that send these legal notices:

Entertainment Companies

Entertainment companies, such as Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, and Sony Pictures, are among the most active in sending copyright infringement notices.

They often target individuals who engage in piracy or illegal downloading of movies, TV shows, and music.

Software Companies

Software companies, such as Microsoft and Adobe, are also active in sending copyright infringement notices.

They often target individuals who use counterfeit or unauthorised software.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

ISPs, such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, are responsible for delivering internet services to customers and are often the first to receive copyright infringement notices from copyright holders.

They may forward these notices to their customers or take other actions, such as terminating internet service.

Trade Associations

Trade associations, such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), represent the interests of their members in the film and music industries.

They work with their members and anti-piracy companies to identify and send notice of copyright infringement to individuals engaging in illegal activities.

Anti-Piracy Companies

Anti-piracy companies, such as Bytescare, work with copyright holders to identify and send copyright infringement notice emails to individuals engaging in illegal activities.

Examples of Different Internet Service Providers

ESA Copyright Infringement

ESA, or the Entertainment Software Association, is a trade association that represents the interests of the video game industry.

As the video game industry continues to grow, so does the problem of copyright infringement.

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ESA takes copyright infringement seriously and actively seeks to protect the intellectual property of its members.

They work with anti-piracy companies to track down and take legal action against those who engage in copyright infringement, whether it’s through piracy or the creation of counterfeit video games.

If you receive a copyright infringement notice from ESA, it’s essential to take it seriously and take appropriate steps to address the issue.

Consider seeking legal advice and cease any infringing activities immediately.

To avoid receiving a copyright infringement notice from ESA or any other copyright holder, it’s important to use legal sources for downloading or purchasing video games.

Additionally, make sure to secure your Wi-Fi network and avoid sharing or distributing copyrighted material without permission.

What Happens If Your ISP Catches You Torrenting?

ISP catches you torrenting

If your ISP catches you torrenting copyrighted material, they may take several actions, depending on their policies and the severity of the infringement.

Here are some of the possible consequences:

Copyright Violations Notice

Your ISP may send you a copyright infringement notice, informing you that your internet activity has been detected and that you are engaging in illegal activities.

The notice may request that you stop the activity immediately and may warn you of potential consequences if you continue.

Throttling or Bandwidth Restrictions

Your ISP may also slow down your internet connection or place restrictions on your bandwidth usage as a penalty for torrenting copyrighted material.

This can make it difficult to use the internet for other activities, such as streaming video or downloading files.

Termination of Service

In severe cases, your ISP may terminate your internet service entirely, either temporarily or permanently.

This can be a significant inconvenience and can make it difficult to access the internet for work or personal use.

Legal Action

In extreme cases, copyright holders may take legal action against individuals who engage in copyright infringement, including those who torrent copyrighted material.

This can result in significant fines or other legal penalties, such as jail time.

How ISPs Detect Copyright Infringement?

ISPs can detect copyright infringement in a variety of ways, including:

Monitoring Traffic

ISPs can monitor the traffic on their networks to identify patterns that indicate copyright infringement, such as downloading large amounts of data from file-sharing websites or using torrenting software.

Third-Party Reports

Copyright holders or their representatives may monitor the internet for instances of infringement and report them to ISPs.

They often use automated systems to scan for copyrighted content being shared or downloaded illegally.

What to Do When You Receive an ISP Copyright Infringement Notice?

notice for infringement

If you’ve received an ISP copyright infringement notice, take the following steps:

Assess the Situation

First, determine whether the notice is legitimate and if the alleged infringement took place.

In some cases, the notice may be a phishing attempt or sent in error.

Seek Legal Advice

If the notice is legitimate and you believe you’ve infringed on someone’s copyright, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in copyright law to understand your options and potential consequences.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

If you haven’t already, secure your Wi-Fi network with a strong password to prevent unauthorised users from accessing your connection and engaging in copyright infringement on your behalf.

This can help prevent future notices.

How to Figure Out That the Notice I Receive is From a Legitimate Source?

It’s important to verify the legitimacy of any copyright infringement notice you receive to ensure that it’s not a scam or phishing attempt.

Here are some steps you can take to figure out if the notice is from a legitimate source:

Check for Contact Information

Legitimate copyright infringement notices usually include contact information for the copyright owner or their representatives, such as an email address or phone number.

Use this information to contact the sender and verify that the notice is legitimate.

Check for Proper Formatting and Language

Scammers often use poor formatting and grammar in their emails, so check the notice carefully for any mistakes or unusual language.

Legitimate notices usually include proper formatting and language.

Verify the Sender’s Identity

Check the sender’s email address or website domain to ensure that it matches the copyright owner or their representative.

Scammers often use fake email addresses or website domains to make their emails look more legitimate.

Do Your Research

Research the copyright owner or their representative to ensure that they are a legitimate organisation.

Check their website, social media accounts, or other online sources to verify their identity.

Contact the Copyright Owner or Their Representative

If you’re still unsure about the legitimacy of the notice, contact the copyright owner or their representative directly to verify the information.

Use the contact information provided in the notice or search for their contact information online.

By taking these steps, you can verify the legitimacy of any copyright infringement notice you receive and avoid falling victim to scams or phishing attempts.

Remember, it’s important to take any notice seriously and address the issue promptly and appropriately, whether it’s legitimate or not.

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The Role of VPNs in Preventing Copyright Infringement Notices

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through an intermediary server, making it difficult for ISPs and other third parties to monitor your online activities.

While using a VPN can help protect your privacy and prevent ISP copyright infringement notices, it’s essential to remember that VPNs should not be used to engage in illegal activities, including copyright infringement.

Game of Thrones, IP-Echelon, and DMCA Notices

When it comes to high-profile TV shows, few have garnered as much attention as Game of Thrones, both in terms of viewership and piracy.

HBO, the show’s copyright owner, faced an uphill battle against the rampant piracy of its hit series.

In response, HBO partnered with IP-Echelon, a leading anti-piracy company, to track down copyright infringers and send out DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices to deter illegal downloading and sharing.

However, HBO understood that merely combating piracy was not a comprehensive solution.

The company decided to make the show more accessible to viewers by adding Game of Thrones to its streaming service, HBO On Demand.

This move catered to the growing preference for streaming content and provided a legal alternative for fans to watch the show.

To further expand the show’s availability, HBO teamed up with Amazon Prime, offering Game of Thrones as an additional channel subscription for $14.99 per month.

Though this might seem expensive, it presented a viable option for viewers who wanted to enjoy the show legally without a cable subscription.

By combining a robust anti-piracy strategy through their collaboration with IP-Echelon and increasing the show’s accessibility via streaming services, HBO managed to curb piracy rates.

Ultimately, this approach led to a more engaged audience and a happier fanbase who could enjoy the series without resorting to illegal means.

Why Did I Receive an Internet Copyright Infringement Takedown Notice?

recieve notice

There are several reasons why you may receive an internet copyright infringement notice. Here are some common reasons:


Piracy is the most common reason for receiving a copyright infringement notice.

Piracy involves downloading, sharing, or distributing copyrighted material without the original content creators permission, such as movies, music, or software.


Torrenting is a form of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing that allows users to download and upload files from other users.

However, many torrent files contain copyrighted material, making it a common cause of copyright infringement notices.

Illegal Streaming

Illegal streaming involves watching or streaming copyrighted content without the owner’s permission.

This can include streaming live sports events or watching movies or TV shows on unauthorised websites or streaming apps.

Downloading Copyrighted Material

Downloading copyrighted material without permission is a form of piracy and can lead to receiving a copyright infringement notification.

Sharing Copyrighted Material on Social Media

Sharing copyrighted material on social media platforms without permission is another common cause of copyright infringement warning notices.

This can include sharing videos, music, or images that you do not own the rights to.

How to Avoid Copyright Infringement?

To avoid receiving ISP copyright violation notices, follow these best practices:

Use Legal Sources

Only download or stream genuine content from legitimate, authorised sources.

This ensures that you’re not infringing on any exclusive rights and reduces the risk of receiving a notice.

Attribute Properly

When using the material in question under a license or within the scope of fair use, always provide proper attribution to the rights holder to avoid the claim of copyright infringement.

Understand Fair Use

Familiarise yourself with the concept of fair use, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research, without requiring permission from the copyright holder.

What to Do If I Click On the Link Provided In the Fake Email Notice?

If you click on a link provided in a fake copyright infringement notice, there are a few steps you should take immediately to protect yourself:

Disconnect From the Internet

If you clicked on a suspicious link, disconnect from the internet immediately.

This can help prevent any malware or viruses from spreading to other devices on your network.

Run a Malware Scan

Run a malware scan on your device using antivirus software to check for any potential threats or infections.

If any malware or viruses are detected, remove them immediately.

Change Your Passwords

If you clicked on a link and entered any personal information, such as login credentials or credit card information, change your passwords immediately.

Use strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess or hack.

Monitor Your Accounts

Monitor your accounts for any unusual activity, such as unauthorised purchases or transactions.

Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution or the appropriate authorities immediately.

Report the Incident

Report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as your internet service provider or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

This can help prevent other users from falling victim to similar scams in the future.

The Potential Costs of a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Here are some of the costs to consider:

Legal fees

The most significant cost associated with a copyright infringement lawsuit is legal fees.

Attorneys typically charge by the hour, and rates can vary depending on the attorney’s experience and the complexity of the case.

Legal fees can quickly add up and range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands or more.

Statutory Damages

Statutory damages are damages that can be awarded in a copyright infringement lawsuit without proof of actual damages.

The number of statutory damages can vary depending on the severity of the infringement and can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per work infringed.

Actual Damages

Actual damages are damages that are awarded based on the actual harm caused by the infringement.

This can include lost profits or other damages suffered by the copyright owner.

Actual damages can be difficult to quantify and can vary widely depending on the case.

Court Costs

Court costs associated with a copyright claim lawsuit can include filing fees, service fees, and other expenses related to the legal process.

Court costs can add up quickly and can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more.

Settlement Fees

If the case is settled before going to trial, settlement fees may be required.

Settlement fees can vary widely depending on the case and can include statutory damages, legal fees, and other expenses.

What’s Next?

Receiving an ISP copyright infringement notice can be a daunting experience, but understanding why you received the notice and taking appropriate action can help mitigate any potential consequences.

Protect your privacy with a VPN, avoid engaging in copyright infraction, and educate yourself on fair use principles to reduce the risk of receiving future notices.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the internet while respecting the legal rights of copyright holders.


Can I be sued for copyright infringement if I receive an ISP notice?

It’s possible, but not all copyright notices lead to legal action. It’s crucial to address the notice and take steps to avoid further infringement to reduce the risk of a lawsuit.

Can I use copyrighted material if I give credit to the copyright holder?

Not necessarily. While proper attribution is essential, it doesn’t automatically permit you to use copyrighted material.

Always ensure that you have the necessary permissions or that your use falls under fair use provisions.

Is using a VPN to avoid ISP copyright infringement notices legal?

Using a VPN is generally legal, but engaging in copyright infringement while using a VPN is still illegal.

VPNs should be used to protect privacy, not to engage in illegal activities.

How can I tell if a notice is legitimate or a phishing attempt?

Look for signs such as poor grammar, requests for personal information, or links to unfamiliar websites.

If you’re unsure, contact your ISP directly to verify the warning notice.

What should I do if someone else is using my Wi-Fi to infringe on copyrights?

Secure your Wi-Fi network with a strong password and encryption, and consider changing your Wi-Fi password regularly to prevent unauthorised access.

Can I use copyrighted material under the fair use doctrine?

Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission in certain situations, such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, or research.

However, fair use is a complex area of law, and it’s best to consult with a legal professional to determine if your intended use qualifies as fair use.

Why did I receive the letter from the internet provider about copyright infringement?

Receiving a copyright infringement notice can be the result of various actions, including piracy, torrenting, illegal streaming, downloading copyright-infringing material, and sharing copyrighted material on social media platforms.

What do I do if by chance I click on the suspicious link provided in a fake email?

if you click on a link provided in a fake copyright infringement notice, disconnect from the internet, run a malware scan, change your passwords, monitor your accounts, and report the incident to the appropriate authorities.

By taking these steps, you can protect yourself from potential harm and help prevent others from falling victim to similar scams.

What are the possible consequences of ignoring ISP copyright infringement notices

Ignoring an ISP takedown notice can lead to various consequences, including:

1. Further notices or legal action from the copyright holder
2. Fines or lawsuits for copyright infringement.
3. Suspension or termination of your internet service
4. Damage to your reputation

It’s crucial to address the takedown request promptly to avoid these potential legal consequences.