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CopyWrong

, , , , | Legal | September 2, 2021

Once upon a time, I got a letter from a copyright troll “threatening” me — it was carefully worded NOT to meet the legal definition of a threat, but yeah, it was a threat — with a lawsuit for copyright infringement I hadn’t committed. I even checked the provided IP address against my own logs and found that it didn’t match with any of the IPs I’d had with the ISP I had been with since before the time of the alleged infringement.

I contacted them, and they told me they were absolutely certain I was guilty and that I should pay up the €800 they were demanding as compensation. I told them I was not going to pay compensation for something I didn’t do. I posted my story on social media, instead. The troll contacted me again about being aware of my social media posts on the matter, hinting at taking separate legal action because of it, I just laughed because it’s not libel if it’s true.

I filed a formal request with my ISP for a complete record of the IP addresses I had had in my time with them so that if the copyright troll tried to take me to court, I’d have documentation to prove my innocence.

The law regarding this sort of request defines, in detail, the manner in which the request must be done — which I complied with to the letter — and what the options for the personal information registry owner are; either the ISP provides the requested information free of charge, or they reply with a written letter detailing their reasons for not complying with the request. I got neither. Instead, I got an email telling me they “didn’t consider” my IP address history to be the kind of information they are required by law to hand over free of charge, but that they were happy to provide the information I had requested for a price of something like €50 per hour of work compiling the information, a minimum charge of half an hour.

I called them and the representative I talked to said the email was correct. When I mentioned how the consumer protection ombudsman had stated that it actually WAS the kind of information an ISP must hand over free of charge.

Representative #1: “Well, that’s just an opinion.

No, it really isn’t. The closest it is to an “opinion” is in the sense that a supreme court ruling is “an opinion.”

Me: “Are you saying you refuse to hand over the information as required by law?”

Representative #1: “No, nothing like that. We are more than happy to provide the information, for a price.”

I hung up and went on social media, telling about my experience with their illegal behavior and tagging the ISP in the post. A week later, I received an email from high up in the ISP’s food chain.

Representative #2: “We have changed our policy regarding your kind of information request. If you still want this information, we can have it mailed to you in a few days.”

Naturally, I said yes and got something like fifty pages of IP logs in the mail. As I already knew, none of the addresses matched with what the copyright troll had claimed had been my IP address at the time of the alleged infringement.

However, the copyright troll never bothered me again after I got a government-paid attorney to write a letter to them on my behalf.

I am with another ISP now. My only regret is that, while the reps I dealt with on the matter above broke the law, for the most part, their customer service was better than my current ISP’s. Then again, my current ISP is well-known for defying market court rulings requiring them to hand over names and addresses of their customers to copyright holders, meaning even if I did do that sort of thing, for the foreseeable future the copyright trolls will never get my personal information again.

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