Frequently Asked Questions about

Copyright Complaints

The following FAQs are intended to answer the most common questions asked by GCI customers who have received notifications of claimed infringements involving their Internet accounts. If your question is not answered below, please contact the GCI Copyright Management Team at 907-375-7240 from Monday through Friday during the hours of 8am – 8pm.

Background

Copyright claimants and their agents can be vigorous in searching for potential infringements of their works on the Internet. To curb infringements, they will often notify online service providers of the infringements. While hosting services like YouTube and Facebook can take material off their systems, and search engines like Bing and Google can remove material from their index, an Internet service provider like GCI does not provide those types of service. It only allows customers to connect to the Internet and, while connected, to transmit or receive data.

Copyright claimants may send us notifications of claimed infringement to advise us of potentially illegal conduct using our system. While we do not monitor or know what our customers send or receive by using our service, we have a strong policy against our customers engaging in infringements, and we may use notifications of claimed infringement as a guide to determining whether we will terminate an account.

Notifications of claimed infringement can result from a number of different conditions. Assuming that a notification is accurate, it may result from the detection by a copyright holder or an agent that someone has used your account to send or to receive copyrighted material. That may be you, someone in your family, a visitor to your home, a neighbor or stranger who may have access to your wireless network, or even a distant stranger who may have obtained access to your computer because of a virus or other malware. Regardless of who has used your Internet access or equipment, and regardless of your personal involvement in or legal responsibility for any infringement, we require that our account holders take steps to avoid situations that may prompt notifications of claimed infringement associated with your GCI Internet account.

Please note that, while the following is intended to assist you in resolving your questions and avoiding potential liability, none of the information contained here should be construed as legal advice. If you have received a notification, you should consider consulting with an attorney who is expert in copyright law.

Questions about Copyright Infringement Notices

If you received an email from GCI about a notification of claimed copyright infringement, that means a copyright holder or its agent has claimed that your account has been associated with acts of copyright infringement. The email from GCI provides information about the claim. Receiving such a notification does not mean that you have been personally accused of wrongdoing but rather that you are being alerted to a claim of illegal activity over your Internet access connection.

Upon receiving notice that your account might be associated with copyright infringement, you should investigate the issue to ensure that your account is secure and that no one with access to your network is engaging in any infringement. If you have any question about copyright law or possible legal liability, you should consult a lawyer who is knowledgeable about copyright law.

You should consider the following steps to protect your internet account against improper use:

  • Do not download or transmit files you know or suspect to be copyrighted material except from reputable sources, authorized for distribution by the copyright holders.
  • Discuss uses of your Internet access account and home network with any person you have authorized to have access to your network (family members, employees, visitors) and instruct them not to engage in any infringements using your network. 
  • Determine whether any computer in your home has software on it that may transmit or receive files without your knowledge or instruction and, if it does, uninstall that software. 
  • Secure your home network with a password so that strangers cannot connect and use your internet subscription. If you need assistance in doing this, contact GCI's technical support staff at 907-868-0316.
The email you received from GCI includes the date on which the copyright holder claims the infringing activity occurred. That date may be expressed as “Greenwich Mean Time,” a global standard, which means you should determine how that translates to your local time. (Alaska is 9 hours behind GMT except when Daylight Saving Time is in effect, when it is 8 hours behind GMT.)
Notifications we receive most likely relate to songs, TV shows, or movies—although they could also relate to any other type of copyrighted material. Notifications typically identify both the copyrighted work that the claimant owns and the name of a file that may have been received or transmitted.
If you are using Microsoft Windows, click on the Start button located at the bottom left-hand side of your screen. A window will pop up with a search bar at the bottom to “Search programs and files.” You can search by the exact file name or with keywords. You’ll want to look on your hard drive for this file. If your computer locates the file or files associated with your search term, it will list possible matches. You must determine which file corresponds to the one listed in the email you received.
GCI receives notifications from copyright holders or their agents who believe copyrighted material has been illegally received by or transmitted from an IP address. We then determine what account was associated with that IP address at the time the claimant states the infringement occurred. GCI may in its discretion inform its subscriber of the allegation. At all times, it is the subscriber’s responsibility to ensure that their account is not being used to commit copyright infringement or violate our terms of service.
No. GCI does not monitor Internet usage on its network for evidence of copyright infringement. GCI takes actions based on its receipt of complaints from copyright owners or their agents, which provides GCI with an IP address. In keeping with the GCI Privacy Policy, GCI does not release subscribers’ names or personal information. However, GCI may provide personally identifying information to a copyright owner or agent, or to law enforcement or a court, if GCI receives a lawful demand such as a subpoena or litigation document request, or a court or governmental order to do so.
Copyright holders or their agents make claims of copyright infringement as a result of their monitoring public internet traffic. Most often, copyright holders identify this activity by monitoring popular file-sharing networks or public Internet sites to which your computer may have connected from the IP address associated with your account. Peer-to-peer / file-sharing programs may have default or mandatory settings causing your computer to share files (allow others to download from you) even as you are downloading from others using the network. By using a file-sharing program, you are potentially allowing strangers to send files to, or download files from, your computer. File-sharing programs are not illegal by themselves and have a number of valid uses, but they can also be used to transmit or receive copyrighted materials. Sharing copyrighted materials without authorization by law or by the copyright owner is illegal.
The email you received from GCI is not an indication that a lawsuit will be initiated against you. GCI received a notification alleging copyright infringement that was associated with your IP address from a copyright holder or its agent. GCI sent you an email to provide you with the notification of that claimed infringement so that you may take steps to investigate and, if necessary, remedy the conditions that led to the notification.

If you received an email from GCI regarding a notification of claimed infringement for material that you legitimately purchased, it is possible that a file-sharing application on your computer scanned your hard drive and made your music, software or movie files available to others over the Internet. You should understand a copyright owner might sue you even for an automated event. For this reason, you should take steps to disable any software that might expose your materials to others on the Internet.

Uninstalling the file-sharing application is the best way to stop your files from being made available to others on the Internet. A few popular file-sharing programs you may find on your system are eDonkey2000, eMule, Limewire, BearShare, FastTrack, Overnet, WinMX, Ares, DC++, Shareaza, Soulseek, KaZaA, Morpheus, Gnutella, and BitTorrent clients such as Azureus, BitTornado, BT++, BitComet, Vuze, µTorrent, and BitLord.

If you need certain file-sharing software applications for lawful purposes, you should ensure that you know the exact characteristics of the software you are using and configure it to avoid conditions that may lead to claims of infringement against you.

GCI has adopted a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of Internet access subscribers who are repeat copyright infringers. GCI receives notifications from copyright holders or their agents who claim that accounts have been used for infringements. If GCI continues to receive notifications from copyright owners indicating that a particular internet account has been used commit copyright infringement, GCI will take action—up to and including termination of service—to ensure that its subscribers do not use GCI’s Internet service to commit copyright infringement.

United States Copyright Office Main Page:
http://www.copyright.gov

World Legal Resource Center, Internet Law Library: 
http://www.lawmoose.com/internetlawlib/325.htm

Copyright Infringement information as provided by the Motion Picture Association of America:
http://respectcopyrights.org

The MPAA has also created a search tool to find movies and television online from legal sources, which can be found at http://www.wheretowatch.com.

Sound recording sponsors have provided information on where to find legal sources of music streaming and downloads, which you can find at http://www.whymusicmatters.com/whymusicmatters.com/find-music.html.