Monday, July 23, 2012
Help Me Howard: Sued For Downloading Movie
Have you ever downloaded a movie into your computer or phone? Hopefully you paid for it because the movie companies are trying to find people who download them illegally and collect thousands of dollars from them. But what happens if you didnt do it its why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Joana Torres works at a children's hospital in the daytime and when she is not at work she is with her three children loving every minute of it all.
Joana Torres: "Amazing, crazy sometimes having to do so many things, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Their my passion, they keep me going and I would do anything for them."
Joana would do anything for her girls but now she needs someone to do something for her.
Joana Torres: "How can they include me in a lawsuit about something that I haven't even done."
Earlier this year, Joana got a letter letting her know she, along with 2,515 other people were being sued for downloading a movie without paying for it.
Joana Torres: "First I thought someone was trying to con me."
Technically, the company was suing the IP address from Joana's computer and they were demanding that Comcast, her internet provider, reveal who had the IP address. But Joana says there is a problem with the lawsuit.
Joana Torres: "My computer IP address is different one then the wireless."
But that didn't stop Joana from being sued. Now according to the lawsuit, the Conan the Barbarian movie was downloaded on Christmas Day at 11:45 p.m. like many families with kids, Joana says everyone was wiped out by then.
Joana Torres: "My girls were ready asleep it was just me and my husband at that time up we didn't download a movie."
But to make sure, Joana checked her computer going back to early December.
Joana Torres: "I looked at the history I looked their was nothing downloaded."
You need a password to access Joana's wireless, but she says its possible a neighbor tapped into her internet and downloaded the movie. But no matter, she is the one being sued.
Joana Torres: "And its legal and its federal and its scary. And its scary and it can happen to anyone it can happen to anyone its terrible."
But in one way its ironic. A few weeks after Christmas, and a month before Joana got the lawsuit she rented Conan the Barbarian from Netflix.
Joana Torres: "It was OK. I would never see it again.
Patrick Fraser: "And you would not pay $10,000?"
Joana Torres: "No. Not at all."
Thats the fee the movie companies sometimes demand for the illegal download of a movie. But Howard how can a normal person fight a multi-million dollar movie company?
Howard Finkelstein: "Its probably a waste of time and money for Joana to try to block the movie company from getting her name. But if she can prove she did not download the movie she will be OK."
Comcast did work with Joana but her battle is not with them rather its NU Image, the movie company Joana turned her computer over to an expert who said neither Conan the Barbarian nor any movie had been downloaded into her computer
That will be important if the case makes it to court.
Howard Finkelstein: "Since Joana has a computer expert that will confirm her laptop never downloaded that movie or any movie, if it gets to court she will probably win. And one more thing, if you illegally download a movie and get caught settle with them because legally they can get up to $150,000 for one illegal download."
Joana can relax a little she has the proof she did nothing wrong, and now the knows what to expect in the future.
Joana Torres: "I am so thankful that Help me Howard is involved because they were able to guide me and i am able to understand a little bit better."
Patrick Fraser: "Now Comcast was supposed to turn over the names of the people who had the IP addresses by June 7th. They did not because of motions made to the court. And in one case when NU Image sued they wound up dropping the case either way. Joana is in much better shape than when she called us."
A bad connection left you feeling unwired? Reboot and plug us in download or upload who knows, but we will try to get you a happy ending...just like in the movies.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org