I was at a friend’s house the other night, and we were trying to work online. The DSL router/modem was working just fine, our phones and computers were all just fine, but no internet.
The ISP was XNET, who have no phone customer service at night after 8pm – which is not exactly a quiet time for traffic. I regard internet access as a utility – up there with electricity, gas, water – not that they are much better, and no service means a lot of stuff grinds to a halt.
After calling the next morning (at 8:01 – they open at 8am) we were referred to the email below, which was sent to the customer’s XNET Webmail inbox. That XNET webmail inbox had received a total of 5 emails since mid May – none of which had been opened. (Who uses an ISP’s mail box – especially with boutique ISP’s?)
So XNET sent an email to their own unused inbox, and then dropped access to the internet for the house. No phone calls, no emails to an address that is actually checked. Nothing.
Sender: WorldxChange Communications
We have received notice regarding your IP address (at the time) actively downloading the following copyright material.
“received notice” is one thing, but did you follow up? Did you check?
This activity is against our terms of service which you agreed upon when joining Xnet (Acceptable Use Policy http://www.xnet.co.nz/content/terms.shtml). If you have received this email without speaking to a customer service representative, then please call us on 0800 14 9638 to expedite the notification process.
http://www.xnet.co.nz/content/terms.shtml referred to resolves to a 404 error. T&C’s are actually here (pdf)
There are all sorts of goodies in that policy – like an Excessive use clauses (warn, shape, cancel), simultaneous connections ($5 per connection – execrable), and a final statement that says “All services are provided by WorldxChange Communications under New Zealand Law.” Hold that thought.
What Is A Copyright Infringement Notice?
The movie, game & music industries have empowered a number of organisations to investigate and prosecute breaches of copyright occurring on the Internet.
So another organisation is able to identify a customer from your records? Where is our privacy? Who is this organisation? Are they operating under NZ law? How did they identify the customer? Why did you pass their message through? Did you pass customer name and details to them? Is that legal?
A copyright infringement is notice of a copyright breach which is usually sent to the offending users Internet service provider. You put yourself at risk of receiving a copyright infringement by using third party sharing programs and downloading copyright content from the Internet.
What happens if I receive a Copyright Infringement?
You will be warned and provided with a copy of the infringement in question. We will attempt to contact you within a 24 hour period to notify you of the Infringement. If we are unable to speak with you your internet service will be temporarily suspended until we are able to do so.
No messages left, no voice communications attempted, no effort made to contact the customers. XNET just dropped the connection.
The option is available to contact the copyright organisation and dispute said infringement. If copies of correspondence can be shown to clear the matter the infringement will not be taken into account.
Sure. Contact the RIAA or MPAA or ESA to discuss their allegations that you have downloaded copyright material? That’s asking for a court case that you cannot afford.
What happens if I receive a second Copyright Infringement?
We will attempt to contact you within a 24 hour period to notify you of the second Infringement. If we are unable to speak with you your internet service will be suspended until we are able to do so.
The Internet service will be closed & notice of the second infringement will be given.
The option is available to contact the copyright organisation and dispute said infringement. If copies of correspondence can be shown to clear the matter the account can be re-instated.
Copyright breaches are illegal and dealt with in a serious manner. We do not wish to lose a customer however repeated Copyright Infringements leave us with no choice. If you receive two infringements (un-disputed) your Internet service will be closed and you will need to find another provider.
Ph : 0800 14 XNET (0800 14 9638)
— Infringement Follows —
Entity: Entertainment Software Association
Contact: Anti-Piracy Enforcement, Intellectual Property Enforcement Manager
Address: 575 7th Street, NW Suite 300, Washington, D. C. 20004 United States of America
Phone: 1(202) 223-2400,1(202) 223-2401
Entity: WorldxChange Communications
So the ESA sends through a breach notice, these spineless guys just nod, append it to an automatic email and then drop the connection. No phone call, no judge, no jury, just capricious disconnection of what these days is regarded as a utility.
My friends are seeking another ISP. And I disagree with Mauricio – XNET shold not put their prices up, they should fix their customer approach and customer service hours first.
Oh – did my friends download the dodgy file? They certainly didn’t themselves, but they have children with computers & they have a wifi network, so who knows? The point is that the ISP presumed guilt, disconnected a service without first contacting the customer and didn’t provide a mechanism for getting back online past 8pm at night.