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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Warrant Isn’t Needed for Seizure of P2P Files

Warrant Isn’t Needed for Seizure of P2P Files

Warrant Isn’t Needed for Seizure of P2P Files

Added: Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Canada, utorrent, bitcomet, Windows, extratorrent, 2010, www.extrattorrent.com, spybot.akb, worm
The court ruled that file-sharing software installation negates the rational expectation of privacy, and that “technical savvy” failed the person intending to keep his shared files private.


It’s hard to believe that somebody would argue the government doesn’t have any authority to seize the content that was accessed via a public peer-to-peer network like Limewire in order to use it as piece of a criminal investigation. However, Charles A. Borowy from Nevada apparently has just done that before the United States Circuit of Appeals.

Charles A. Borowy tried to argue that authorities extra constitutionally obtained evidence against him in a case about child pornography after they fell through to receive a court order as the fourth amendments protection from baseless seizure and search demands.

On May 2007 Byron Mitchell (a Special Agent) did that by logging onto LimeWire and using “Lolitaguy” search term in order to retrieve a list of child pornography content that he later confirmed via hash marks. He then selected one IP address which was liable for making such content available. Finally, Mitchell used the “browse host” feature in order to view the whole content of Borowy’s “shared” folder. There were about 240 files in it.

What Agent Mitchell did next was he downloaded the files and then obtained a search warrant that led to the confiscation of Borowy’s floppy disks, CDs and laptop computer. The later court examination of all those items proved that he had over six hundred pictures of child porno, including 75 videos in his possession.

Borowy tried to claim that since he had bought and installed the fresh LimeWire version which allows preventing others from viewing and downloading files from the user’s computer without his permission and tried to engage such a feature, he was supposed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the files. However, for unknown reason, the feature was not engaged at that very moment when Mitchell downloaded 7 files from his computer, and he wasn’t restricted on accessing those files.

And so the court ruled that Charles A. Borowy lost his “reasonable expectation of privacy” at the moment when he decided to install a P2P program on his computer. He may have meant to keep his shared files private, but it was his “technical savvy” that failed him.

What is the lesson? Just make sure you’re making your content available not accidentally, but only on purpose.

February 25th, 2010

Posted by: 

Date:  Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Comments (28) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2010-02-25 23:59:05)
jinx151 avatarWe recently received the attached notice from 20th Century Fox claiming that your Internet account may have been used for copyright infringement. Specifically, 20th Century Fox claims that your account was used to reproduce and/or distribute copyrighted content without authorization to other users of an Internet-based file-sharing network. We are forwarding this notice at the request of 20th Century Fox -- please see the enclosed document.

Content providers such as 20th Century Fox routinely monitor file-sharing networks to determine if their copyrighted movies and music are being distributed illegally over the Internet. 20th Century Fox identified your AT&T account by its numeric IP address, a string of numbers identifiable by any site from which you upload or download files. When an Internet user connects to file-sharing networks, the IP address assigned to the computer connected to the Internet becomes publicly available to other members of the network. Consistent with our Customer Privacy Policy, AT&T has not released your name or any other personal information to 20th Century Fox, but is forwarding this notice to you so that this issue may be resolved without any further action.

You should be aware that copyright infringement is a violation of U.S. law, and potentially punishable by fines and other criminal penalties. It also is a violation of the AT&T Acceptable Use Policy, which governs your use of AT&T Internet services. If infringing activity persists, 20th Century Fox may choose to seek a court order requiring AT&T to provide it with your name and address so it can pursue legal action against you.

By forwarding this complaint, AT&T is not making any accusation of wrongdoing. Rather, we are bringing 20th Century Fox's notice to your attention so that you can take prompt and appropriate steps to prevent any further activity of this nature from occurring over your Internet account. Steps you may consider taking include:

1. Ceasing any sharing of copyrighted content that might be occurring via file sharing software, services or networks;
2. Securing your home Wi-Fi network to ensure others are not accessing the Internet through your connection to download or distribute illegal content;
3. Talking with family members or guests who may have used your Internet connection in ways you are not aware of;
4. Using virus and spyware protection software to protect against security threats and ensure your Internet connection is not being used in ways that you have not authorized;
5. Learning how federal copyright law applies to online activities by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office's website at http://www.copyright.gov/.

Violations of the Acceptable Use Policy can result in termination of your AT&T service. We encourage you to review the AT&T Acceptable Use Policy online at http://www.corp.att.com/aup/ and the AT&T Customer Privacy Policy at http://www.att.com/privacy.

AT&T is committed to protecting your personal information and ensuring the best possible online experience for all customers. Please review the attached letter for information regarding the alleged copyright infringement. If you have any questions regarding your AT&T Internet account or AT&T policies, please call us at 1-866-618-7991 or email us at [email protected]

Notice of Copyright Infringement

Re: Unauthorized Use of Fox Property

Notice ID: 343-1418997
Notice Date: 25 Feb 2010 17:42:52 GMT

Dear Sir or Madam:

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION and its affiliated companies (collectively, "Fox") own intellectual property rights, including exclusive rights protected under copyright law, in many motion pictures, television programs and other audiovisual works (collectively, the Fox Titles). We believe that your AT&T Internet account is being used to reproduce and/or distribute copies of one or more Fox Titles on the Internet, in violation of Fox's legal rights. We have set forth at the close of this letter the details concerning this infringement, including the title(s) of the Fox Title(s) in question, the IP address of your account at the time of the infringement, and the date and time of the infringement. The documentation included at the end of this notice specifies the location of the infringement. The audiovisual works being offered through your Internet account include the following:

Title: Amelia DVD

The copying and/or distribution of copies of copyrighted audiovisual works without the authorization of the copyright owner constitutes copyright infringement under the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 106, 501. This conduct may subject you to significant liability, including statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work for willful infringement. Under certain circumstances, copyright infringement can give rise to federal criminal liability, with penalties as high as five years imprisonment plus a $250,000 fine. (See 17 U.S.C. § 506; 18 U.S.C. § 2319.)

Such infringing activity also constitutes a violation of AT&T's Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement, and such breach may give AT&T the right to terminate your Internet access service.

Fox is committed to creating a positive online environment where consumers have many legal choices for enjoying movies and TV shows over the Internet, and we hope you will take advantage of this growing array of safe, legitimate options. Although various legal and equitable remedies may be available to Fox as a result of such infringement, Fox believes that the entire Internet community benefits when these matters are resolved cooperatively. We urge you to take immediate action to effect removal of the detected infringement listed in the below report, including:

1) Cease any unauthorized offering or downloading of the above title(s), and any other film or television titles whose copyright is owned Fox, on any peer-to-peer or other internet services; and

2) Delete from your computer any unauthorized copies of the above title(s), and any other film or television titles owned by the Fox, which you have downloaded from or offered on any peer-to-peer or other internet services.

3) Send us a prompt response, which makes reference to Notice ID 343-1418997, indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter. Correspondence should be directed to:

mailto:[email protected]?subject=RE%3A%20Notice ID: 343-1418997 Copyright Infringement

Please reference the Notice ID 343-1418997 in all correspondence.

You can learn more about piracy by visiting the MPAA's web site at http://www.mpaa.org/piracy_whoAre.asp.

The undersigned has a good faith belief that use of Fox's property in the manner described herein is not authorized by Fox, its agents or the law. Also, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California and under the laws of the United States, that the information in this notification is accurate and that the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of Fox with respect to this matter.

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


Mark Ishikawa
BayTSP, Inc.
PO Box 1314 - Los Gatos, CA 95031

posted by (2010-02-25 23:59:37)
jinx151 avatarwhat does this shit mean

posted by (2010-02-26 00:00:26)
jinx151 avatarhow do i stop this from happening to me agan

posted by Turtle (2010-02-26 00:01:03)
D4T4 avatarIs it me or has the world gone totally crazy?

posted by Turtle (2010-02-26 00:09:29)
D4T4 avatar@jinx151. Check out Obs brilliant article entitled 'SAFETY FIRST' .

posted by (2010-02-26 00:15:08)
skyhawk96 avatarI have got lots of those before, doesn't mean shit if you don't live in the U.S.
If you do make sure to use private or semi public trackers. But it mostly applies to
actual DL's of DVD rips

posted by (2010-02-26 00:21:43)
NaTaS avatarI got one of these warnings from here for downloading the flashback tv shows.;;

posted by (2010-02-26 01:23:28)
Shedevil avatarwithout responding too those stoopid letters they have no way of really proving u did anything wrong so whatever u do do not ever ever respond to those letters

posted by (2010-02-26 01:25:57)
No avatarThank you for the info Sam

posted by (2010-02-26 01:35:05)
ViperRed avatarwhere you using peerblock? if not get it! it helps with that shit.

posted by Blocked (2010-02-26 01:54:41)
godchaser avatarYou most definitely want to take steps to protect yourself. Get Peer Block or Peer Guardian! Use an IP filter! Like SheDevil said do not respond. Maintain your PC and keep it clean use a program like Advanced System Care Pro (available on ET)

posted by (2010-02-26 03:13:28)
blackwolf411 avatarThanks Sam for the info.

posted by (2010-02-26 03:23:13)
blackwolf411 avatarJinx151. You most definitely need to be more careful in your online endeavors. I would recommend looking into protection of some sort. A VPN, seedBox, peerBlock, something. Anything is better than nothing at all.

posted by (2010-02-26 04:17:20)
jason9ine avatarGood thing I'm living here in the Philippines. They, the government, don't give shit about anything but about them selves. :) Lucky me.

@Post #11 godchaser,
They'll work but the effect will be the same as adding paper thin defense. We live in a world where anyone can find and do anything to someone else with enough money. If they want to find you, they'll find you and yet, as said on post #13 blackwolf411, anything is better than nothing at all. Indeed. :)

posted by (2010-02-26 04:18:47)
jason9ine avatarGood read by the way SaM. :)

posted by (2010-02-26 08:51:43)
EdgarS avatarI got a similar notice from AT&T (DSL provider) about a complaint by NBC-Universal for downloading an episode of "Caprica."

posted by
(2010-02-26 13:21:21)
SaM avatarJinx what ever precautions u do fine..but remember one thing..dont reply or entertain that letter cuz if u do then u admitting that u r at fault

posted by (2010-02-26 15:27:12)

posted by (2010-02-26 15:37:26)
dougie avatar@jinx151 you really should understand p2p first before you start uploading and downloading use ip filter for U torrent or a vpn ( virtual private network). Google is your best friend do some research first and you will be ok :)

posted by (2010-02-26 17:58:51)
mysticaldragon avatarImportant Technical and Legal Notes: no masking of your address is 100% foolproof. At the same time, remember that in any other country outside of Canada, downloading copyrighted movies and songs puts you at legal risk for copyright infringement prosecution. Hundreds of users in the USA and UK have been fined by the MPAA and RIAA for downloading files in the last three years. Only in Canada is P2P file sharing tolerated legally, and only then, under specific circumstances.I use PeerBlocking,peer Guardian and MFC-MUTE-0.0.7-Setup

posted by (2010-02-26 18:47:20)
Stayingtrue avatarHm....intersting article and comments, nice thanks

posted by (2010-02-26 22:23:18)
Brynn217 avatarmore steps as well to protect yourself is... Do not use AT&T or comcast, they will gladly hand over your info... Verizon seems to be the safest in the US... PeerGuardian2 is a free program, but make sure you allow ads... your screens on IE will never load if you dont... And download a program from here to mask your IP address... if they THINK you live in the Phillipines is almost as good as actually being from there....

posted by (2010-02-27 03:24:31)
messiahx4ever avatarThese are the same people in that movie Blazing Saddles, you know the ones I mean, blowing smoke and hurrumphing all over the place to keep their phony baloney jobs alive. When the numbers for the internet get just a bit higher & the companies involed can trim off the fat(heads) such as MPAA and RIAAS, and go ahead and allow people to download directly to their homes for a reasonable profit margin, this crap will stop. Occasionally I DO go to the theater to see a movie as long as my service dog does not get stomped, kicked, or have drinks dumped on him, but alas, this is why I do it this way. Yes I am still in the infancy stages of doing it but this is the way of the world and I am seriously tired of the hostility I get from using a Service Dog.Tired of the trips to hospitals, to jail, etc, etc, etc. But like I always say, ONLY IN AMERICA can you find this kind of crap with a SMILE!!!! Loved the article too.

posted by (2010-02-27 07:37:48)
7xxxxxxx avatarwell nothing can stop p2p .....law is maid to break.......about copyright every thing that exists in universe is not a not a copyright is the air you breath is copyright then why don,t you live in boxes rather not wasting money and and time on stop p2p they should think about earning money by using p2p.

posted by Blocked (2010-03-01 20:09:04)
phoenixcrash avatarFOX...I oughta b!tchslap yo [email protected], ho. As much money as you've stolen from people (including myself) over the years, and you go and pull some sh!t like dis? I want you to reach down in ya bag and hand me my wallet back. It's the one that says "BAD MOTHERF*CKER on it.

posted by Blocked (2010-03-01 20:18:37)
phoenixcrash avatarBTW, what's a good program I can get from ET to mask my IP address? Any suggestions?

posted by (2010-03-05 19:21:43)
megaplay avatarUse Peer Block. Peer Guardian is no longer supported.

posted by (2010-03-05 19:29:22)
megaplay avatar[b]PeerGuardian[/b] was a free open source program developed by Phoenix Labs, but has since been discontinued in favor of other applications. It is capable of blocking incoming and outgoing connections based on IP blacklists.
With the development of PeerGuardian ended, Phoenix Labs encourage current PeerGuardian users to migrate to PeerBlock which is based on PeerGuardian 2.

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