Sunday, September 6, 2009

How Torrents Ruined My Life

This is my first and likely only post to this blog. I am posting under a pseudonym to protect my privacy and because I was forced to sign an NDA. However this is the internet age and I feel my story needs to be told.

This story begins in January of 2009 when I received a letter from my ISP stating that they had received a complaint that someone with my IP address had been downloading CSI: Miami illegally. I had read about people getting these online and never heard of anything coming of it so I just threw it away and didn't think of it again.

That is, until I received a second letter and my internet was disconnected. I called my ISP and explained that I had an open wireless internet connection and anyone could have done what they were alleging from my connection without my knowledge. They said it did not matter and I could not use my internet until I signed and faxed a release promising it would never happen again. I would also continue being charged for my connection during the time I was unable to use it. I was unhappy, but I signed the paper and faxed it off so I could get back to downloading my movies.

Flash forward another month and I get notified that I am being prosecuted for copyright infringement. Uh oh. I use the majority of my savings to retain an attorney. He advises me that we should try to cut a deal or I could end up paying millions in fines. I don't have millions!

My boyfriend decides he doesn't want to be involved with a criminal and leaves me. He didn't seem to have a problem when I was downloading music for him. Hypocrite.

My attorney says he's confident that he's gotten the best offer he can get. So we settle. I agree to have 25% of my measly paycheck be deducted automatically from my paycheck for what will likely be the next 20 years to pay off the $100,000 fine and I'm spared jail time.

Since I can no longer afford my house I'm now living back with my mom. I'm now single. My credit rating is destroyed. My car will probably be repo'd any day now and I'm now working at the BK Lounge since my previous employer can't have an "ex-con" on the payroll.

So that's the story of how torrents ruined my life. It's not their fault. It's mine. Not for sharing files "illegally", but for not using protection like a good girl. I still download just like always, but now I use protection to keep the corporate scumbags off my back and out of my purse. In closing, FUCK THE RIAA!!!

-Sandy Johnson