What do I do if my younger sister downloaded a movie onto my computer and now I’m being accused of copyright infringement?

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What do I do if my younger sister downloaded a movie onto my computer and now I’m being accused of copyright infringement?

I received some papers in the mail about copyright infringement. My sister, who was 13 at the time, downloaded the movie over a year ago. As soon as I found the file, I deleted it. I did not share the movie or host it. My name is on the internet bill so I’m guessing that’s why I am being held responsible. I wrote a letter explaining the situation but I didn’t send it in, fearing that it wasn’t a good idea until I got some advice. What should I do? I feel like I should not be penalized for my sister’s mistake.

Asked on May 15, 2011 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The first question here is WHO is accusing you of copyright infringement?  To be honest, it sounds like you are a victim of a scam.  While possible, it is unlikely that the movie studios are going to hire an attorney to go after individuals who have downloaded, and deleted, ONE movie.  Theres just not enough money in it for them for that kind of legal action to be worth it.  Rather, it is possible that someone is scamming people into paying money to settle false claims.  This sounds like the more likely of the two scenarios.  In any event, I first suggest that you research whether the person/entity making the accusation is legitimate before deciding what, if any, action you need to take.  Good luck.


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