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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Copyright, Subpoenas, and You by Snively '11

I prefer to keep the "you" part out of the picture.

When I first got to MIT I got a little pamphlet entitled “Copyright, Subpoenas, and You.” I laughed. Of course they’d have to remind MIT students about this, the tech center of the world was likely to have tons of illegal downloading operations running throughout campus. I believe the quote I used in my personal blog was “One of my favorite items is a bookmark/leaflet entitled “Copyright, Subpoenas, and YOU!” that highly discourages filesharing.”

So the Olympics just finished up. I didn’t get a chance to watch most of them because of work, lack of TV, and not enough energy. I was told, however, that the opening ceremonies and torch lighting were amazing. I looked around on YouTube for a clip but just couldn’t find anything. What’s the fallback when YouTube fails to provide adequate tube-age? BitTorrent!

I surfed around on The PirateBay for a while and found a suitable copy of the opening ceremonies. I downloaded it, watched it, and enjoyed it. The next day I got an e-mail:

Michael Snively,

MIT has received the following copyright infringement takedown notice (see below message). Our records indicate the computer used at the date and time of this activity is registered to your computing account (or a computer in your area of responsibility).

IP Address:
Hostname: Snively-Laptop
MAC Address: 00:**:**:**:**:**

Unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted material violates MIT Policy and the MITnet Rules of Use. This practice is also illegal and can lead to legal action against you by the copyright holder.

You are directed to take the following steps immediately:

1. Destroy the works cited below as well as *any* copyrighted material for which you do not have explicit permission from the copyright holder to possess. If this step cannot be taken promptly, please remove the computer from the network.

2. Discontinue sharing of any copyrighted work for which you do not have permission to distribute.

3. Reply to this message when you have completed the above steps, and explain in your own words the steps you have taken. To avoid loss of network access you *must respond* within 5 days. If you have received multiple notices respond to each notice individually or make a note of the other notices in your response.

Multiple offenses involving you or computers belonging to you will be handled in accordance with the procedures described in the “Copyright Infringement Policy for Students” document.

Since it appears you are enrolled as a student, a copy of this notice is also being sent to the Office of Student Mediation & Community Standards.

If there are facts regarding this situation that you feel we should have prior to invoking these procedures, please include them in your response to us.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please let us know.

IT Security Support
Information Services & Technology, MIT

Uh-oh. This can’t be good. I initially couldn’t figure out what I may have stolen. Then I got to the second half of the e-mail:

Re: Unauthorized Use of NBC Universal Properties
Notice ID: 14-********
25 Aug 2008 18:05:28 GMT

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please be advised that NBC Universal and/or its subsidiary and affiliated companies (collectively, NBC Universal) are the owners of exclusive rights protected under copyright law and other intellectual property rights in many motion pictures and television programs, including the title(s) listed below (the NBC Universal Properties). NBC Universal diligently enforces its rights in its motion pictures.

It has come to our attention that Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the service provider for the IP address listed below, from which unauthorized copying and distribution (downloading, uploading, file serving, file “swapping” or other similar activities) of the NBC Universal Property or Properties listed below, or portion(s) thereof, is taking place. We believe that the Internet access of the user engaging in this infringement is provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology or a downstream service provider who purchases this connectivity from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This unauthorized copying and distribution constitutes copyright infringement under Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act. Depending upon the type of service Massachusetts Institute of Technology is providing to this IP address, it may have legal and/or equitable liability if it does not expeditiously remove or disable access to the motion picture(s) listed below, or if it fails to implement a policy that provides for termination of subscribers who are repeat infringers (see 17 U.S.C. 512).

Despite the above, NBC Universal believes that the entire Internet community benefits when these matters are resolved cooperatively. We urge you to take immediate action to stop this infringing activity and inform us of the results of your actions. We appreciate your efforts toward this common goal.

The undersigned has a good faith belief that use of the NBC Universal Property or Properties in the manner described herein is not authorized by NBC Universal, its agent or the law. The information contained in this notification is accurate. Under penalty of perjury, the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of NBC Universal with respect to this matter.

Please be advised that this letter is not intended to be a complete statement of the facts or law as they may pertain to this matter or of NBC Universal’s positions, rights or remedies, legal or equitable, all of which are specifically reserved.

Please send us a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter, making sure to reference the Notice ID number above in your response.

mailto:[email protected]?subject=RE%3A%20DMCA%20Notification%20Notice%20ID%3A%2014%2D17012289

If you do not wish to reply by email, please use our Web Interface by clicking on the following link:**********************************

Note: If your email program has inserted line breaks into either the email or web links above, you can copy and paste the entire link in to you email program, or favorite web browser, respectively.

Very truly yours,

Mark Ishikawa
c/o NBC Universal Anti-Piracy Technical Operations
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

tel. (818) 777-4876
fax (818) 866-2026
[email protected]

Title: Beijing Olympics (2008)
Infringement Source: BitTorrent
Initial Infringement Timestamp: 23 Aug 2008 00:18:18 GMT
Recent Infringement Timestamp: 23 Aug 2008 00:18:18 GMT
Infringing Filename: Olympic Opening Ceremony [2008]
Infringing File size: 627779631
Infringers IP Address:
Infringers DNS Name:
Infringing URL:

So, what’d I do? Um, deleted the file of course! And, let this be a lesson to all of you: HD videos can have all sorts of tracking code embedded in them. Studios DO NOT HESITATE TO TRACK THEIR PROPERTY!

Now you know exactly what to expect if you break copyright law at MIT. Just doing my job, sharing about life at MIT, even if sometimes it means I’ve got to take one for the team in order to share.

Don’t break international copyright law.


18 responses to “Copyright, Subpoenas, and You”

  1. geenen says:

    Snively, if you really want to watch the opening ceremony, get windows media center if you don’t have it already, the google TVtonic, and click on the link related to the NBC olympics. YOU CAN WATCH IT FOR FREE IF YOU GET THE ADD-ON.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You’ve been here a year and only now are you are being cited for copyright infringement? For shame, Snively, for shame!

  3. we’d miss you if you went to prison.

    you should go on the chinese video websites. i’m not sure if it’s right to post here, so i won’t post the specific website names. but those are great!

    nice post smile

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good to know what to except when you want to download something at mit

    When youtube fails there´s always megavideo or sidereel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if the tracking code is OS-specific or does it run cross-platform? With Comcast announcing bandwidth limits today, and now this, I feel sad : (

    There are now fences on the Internet.

  6. Kevin says:

    Note to self: If I attend MIT, conduct all downloads at home =P

  7. Anonymous says:



  8. Shannon says:

    This is still funny 24+ hours after hearing it.

    But yeah, kids, don’t break the law, and look both ways before crossing.

  9. |Lex! says:

    So, yeah. This sounds like a totally delicious interaction with one of our favorite media harem masters. Did you at least get to watch the opening ceremonies before you got b-slapped by IS&T?

    (And this is why I’m getting my hands on a TV tuner card. record record record. Newegg: can get ’em for less than $50)

  10. PS says:

    It’s not the file, but the protocol. As BitTorrent connects to other computers in order to download a file, some cough companies run dummy clients to detect DMCA violations in relevant files.

    Well, some printers could receive those notices [PDF] anyway; so the system is a bit far from perfect =P

  11. Ann says:

    *In Russian accent* At MIT, international laws break you!

  12. Tim Balbekov says:


    you might want to remove the link to baytsp in the (completely automated) DMCA takedown notice. someone could copy paste that in and write an angry letter to NBC in your name =D

  13. José P. says:

    Oh cheese biscuits, Snively’s on a crooked path like a boson at CERN!

  14. Vivi '12 says:

    … shit. Time to go delete some files.

  15. MT says:

    If you go to MIT, you shouldn’t be having this problem.

  16. Harish says:

    NBC has issues :(. I missed the opening ceremony too, and haven’t been able to find it anywhere.