Earlier this week, my internet service was shut off due to an alleged DMCA violation. Apparently, 20th Century Fox filed a complaint because my IP was involved in sharing the movie "Red Tails". To begin, it wasn't me downloading it, but that's only where the issues I have with this begin.
One problem I have is that this is my alleged "third strike". In November I had to go to the local Mediacom office to sign some form for acknowledging that illegal downloading had already occurred. Back then it wasn't me, either, but I signed the form anyway so I could resume using the service. This time my account has been shut off for good and, as stated earlier, I was told it was because this was the third time something like this has happened. The problem there is that I had never received any notice of a first violation. I had received two prior mailings from Mediacom, but both dealt with billing and there was nothing about copyright infringement in either one.
Going a bit further, is the claim I got on the phone from customer service reps that the company is required by the DMCA to shut off my service or face legal action themselves. While I'm not a lawyer, my understanding of the law is that there are protections in place for ISPs as long as they aren't providing havens for people that infringe on copyrights. They are required to shut off service to those that violate the law, but not necessarily after three times, or one time, or anything of the sort; that is the company's prerogative.
Then there is the issue that the only way to possibly get the internet back is to file a counter-notification form to the copyright holder themselves and that's far from any guarantee. By filing this form, I would be sending personal information to that company and possibly subjecting myself to legal action from them. Even though I am innocent of any wrongdoing, that is a possibility I would not like to get into. Further, it seems that the only way to get the internet back through Mediacom is to either successfully win legal action against the copyright holder or to wait and see if they don't respond within a certain amount of time. Neither of those are particularly appealing options.
Again, I am not a lawyer, but, reviewing the Acceptable Use Policy (http://www.mediacomtoday.com/aup
), there is nothing about a "three strike rule." The policy also states that Mediacom MAY terminate service for violations of the policy and that these are done at its discretion. Is there any possibility that, proving my non-involvement and complete ignorance of the problem, Mediacom can use their discretion to NOT terminate my service? It would be nice if, as a loyal, paying customer I could be shown some amount of due process by my provider. I would also like to know the exact time in which the alleged violation occurred, because for most of that day I was away from my computer until I logged in to find my service shut off.
The final point that I will bring up is that my internet runs out of a barracks room on a military base where hackers and IT people are trained (unfortunately I am not one of them, or maybe I would have known how to better prevent this from happening in the first place).
Again, though, to my knowledge this was only the second violation on my account.
It would be nice if I could get some answers, preferably by somebody with some legal knowledge and not a customer service rep reading talking points. Unless resolved soon I will bring the issue before my own legal representatives.