San Francisco
– A 53-year-old grandmother was wrongly accused by copyright holders of
downloading 18 films and TV shows, and further had her Internet service
suspended by Qwest before media inquiries eventually helped resolve the matter,
CNET reported.

Colorado resident Cathi Paradiso denied to CNET that she had ever downloaded a movie or
song, and also said as much in a letter to the movie studios that had wrongly
accused her.

"Take me off your hit list," Paradiso wrote. "I
have never downloaded a movie. Period… You’ll need to admit you made a
mistake and move on to the correct perpetrator… I am saying this once more:
My computer is not a toy. My livelihood depends on my ISP’s reliability. Look
for the perpetrator and leave my service alone."

Copyright holders have
turned to ISPs to help stem unauthorized sharing of their content online; several
have agreed to send warning letters to their subscribers, and some have even
suspended Internet service in some cases of repeat offenders.

For its part,
Qwest told CNET it sent 18 claims of infringement to Paradiso across three
months before suspending her account. Paradiso told CNET she never received any
emails or letters from Qwest.

As it turns out, following inquiries about
Paradiso from CNET, Qwest investigated and found that her network had been
compromised — meaning she was not in fact responsible for the movie downloads.

Qwest spokeswoman Monica Martinez told CNET the company works with customers
who believe they’ve been wrongly accused.

"We will work with them if there
is a security issue or a mistake as much as we can," said Martinez.

"This goes to
show that there’s a problem with due process in these kinds of
situations," Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney at digital civil
liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation told CNET.

"If you’re
going to kick somebody off the Internet, there’s a lot of procedures that need
to be put in place to protect the innocent. It doesn’t look like those were in
place here."


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