Legal Question in Technology Law in Rhode Island

Minor who downloaded a P2P Video

I am a minor and I downloaded The War of the Worlds DVD on the internet via a P2P Program. I was cought by Paramount Pictures and recieved an email from my ISP stating that I downloaded this video and that they would suspend my internet account after ten (10) days. I deleted all traces of the video, but my question is, if i am a minor, would my Parent/Guardian be liable for my actions? I did not make a profit off of this video and I intend to buy it. (It was good) Nick

Asked on 2/13/06, 4:05 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Lawrence Graves Coolidge & Graves PLLC

Re: Minor who downloaded a P2P Video

First, tell your parents right away. This can get out of hand, but only if you play things wrong or there are other facts involved.

The people that the industry is really out to get are those whose downloading activities runs into dozens or even hundreds of copyrighted works. If this was your first time, then they have no interest in making you the "poster child" for abuse by the motion picture industry.

The industry enforcement people will likely require that you and your parents enter into a settlement agreement and pay a modest penalty (this is why you need to tell your parents right away).

Finally, although I don't recall ever giving this advice before on this forum, it would be a VERY bad idea to get a lawyer involved in negotiating this settlement directly with the MPA enforcement people. Happy to explain further if you contact me directly.

Best wishes,



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Answered on 2/15/06, 11:00 am
Staff General Counsel LawyersCollaborative

Re: Minor who downloaded a P2P Video

Your parents generally would not be responsible for your actions, unless they knew or should have known that you were likely to engage in such conduct.

Based on the facts set forth in your question, the copyright holder generally would not be able to hold your parents liable unless it could show that, for example, Nick has been arrested three times before for downloading pirated videos from the internet and parents never took any action to stop him - such as barring Nick from computer access.

As you have now learned, next time just buy the video and you'll not have the worries.

I respectfully suggest that you not let this minor transgression weigh too heavily on your mind.

Good luck,

Scott Summer

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Answered on 2/13/06, 4:15 pm

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