Last week, two students were accused of illegally downloading pornography on the Internet by their internet service provider.
The Associated Students Legal Resources Center received two cases within a week where students received messages from their Internet service providers telling them to stop illegally downloading porn. The messages were passed to the students by the university’s Information Technology Office and Cox Communications, Inc. from Beverly Hills anti-piracy firm CEG Tek. The messages allegedly demanded the students cease downloading the material or face settlement related fines in the amount of roughly $300 per illegal download.
AS Legal Resource Center attorney Robin Unander said she suspects that companies within the porn industry such as Vivid Entertainment are hiring the services of CEG Tek to defer Internet users from downloading adult films illegally. Unander said it seems as though CEG Tek is looking mostly to stop future illegal downloads rather than to seek compensation.
“Right now it seems that the intent from CEG Tek is to make aware to students to stop,” Unander said.
Unander said she believes CEG Tek will contact more students for illegally downloading pornographic content in the future, and advises students who are caught to comply with the demands instead of deleting items or getting rid of their computers.
“Getting rid of the computer isn’t going to do any good, trying to erase it off the computer isn’t going to do any good, and doing more downloads is definitely not a good idea,” Unander said. “The damage is done. Stop doing any more downloads and understand that it’s being basically monitored.”
CEG Tek has declined to comment on the matter.
Computer science professor Giovanni Vigna said he thinks the students who allegedly downloaded the porn illegally made their usage easy to track by using a website like BitTorrent.com, which makes it accessible for anyone, including anti-piracy firms, to see what they have downloaded.
“If people use well-known content distribution networks, those users can be easily tracked,” Vigna said. “After they downloaded, they make it available to the rest of the world and they usually raise a sort of alarm.”
According to Vigna, CEG Tek would not have been able to track down the students if they had removed the content from their computers immediately.
“If they would have probably taken the porn and movies out of their disk right away, they probably wouldn’t have been targeted,” Vigna said.
The founder of the blog FightCopyrightTrolls.com, who declined to be identified, said CEG Tek is a “copyright troll” that “threatens” illegal downloaders with settlement payments, although the company is unlikely to take such matters to civil courts.
“Ignoring them is pretty safe at this moment,” the blogger said. “In 99.9 percent likelihood, nothing will happen.”
A first-year chemical engineering major who declined to be identified said he illegally downloaded pornographic content from the website Kickass.to, otherwise known as Kickass Torrents. He said he downloaded “nudes” during the recent “Fappening” when celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian allegedly had their Apple iCloud accounts hacked.
“I downloaded a big file of naked celebrity photos after the so-called ‘Fappening’ on the first of September 2014,” the student said. “Remember, remember the first of September.”
The student said he does not illegally download porn often, and he does not understand why one would do so when there are other legal options.
“I don’t know why people would download porn illegally when they could just use Pornhub.com,” the student said.