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NFIB says small businesses should be careful with Internet access


Small businesses were issued a warning today: Be careful what people are downloading while using Internet access you provide.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Iowa office is warning that a new alliance between Internet providers, record labels, movie studios and other industry groups could have an effect on small businesses that provide Internet access to customers.

The alliance, called the Center for Copyright Information, is intended to provide a best practices standard for illegal downloads of online content. Operating from the belief that the majority of people who illegally download material don’t know they are doing so, the center will give Internet subscribers at least five alerts of illegal usage before taking “mitigation measures,” which could include temporary reductions of Internet speed.

“Small businesses that offer Internet access, such as a coffee shop or a hotel or even a car mechanic with a waiting area, should be aware of the industry’s crackdown on piracy and take steps to ensure their customers aren’t using the service to steal content,” said Kristin Kunert, NFIB’s Iowa director, in a press release.

She said some people don’t want to illegally download music or movies from home because they fear getting caught, so they use the Internet connection of a public business to do so.

Businesses can challenge a notice by paying a $35 filing fee and requesting an independent review, but doing so could be time consuming and take resources away from the business, the office warned.

The NFIB recommends that businesses discourage abuse by requiring a password for Internet usage, or blocking certain websites that facilitate illegal downloads.

For more information on the Center for Copyright Information, click here.

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