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Comcast Refusing To Comply With Piracy Subpoenas

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the actually-comcastic-for-once dept.

Piracy 224

New submitter nbacon writes with news that Comcast, apparently tired of the endless BitTorrent-related piracy lawsuits, has stopped complying with subpoena requests, much to the chagrin of rightsholders. From the article: "Initially Comcast complied with these subpoenas, but an ongoing battle in the Illinois District Court shows that the company changed its tune recently. Instead of handing over subscriber info, Comcast asked the court to quash the subpoenas. Among other things, the ISP argued that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over all defendants, because many don’t live in the district in which they are being sued. The company also argues that the copyright holders have no grounds to join this many defendants in one lawsuit. The real kicker, however, comes with the third argument. Here, Comcast accuses the copyright holders of a copyright shakedown, exploiting the court to coerce defendants into paying settlements."

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Yay Comcast. (5, Funny)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313617)

I take back every nasty thing I ever said about Comcast.

Well, on second thought, I temporarily suspend my badmouthing of Comcast. ...
Ok, time's up.

Re:Yay Comcast. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313675)

Even sandvine?

Give credit where credit is due, but this doesnt eliminate all past record. Perhaps this, along with ipv6 and dnssec, are a positive trend at comcast. Perhaps, with their DNS tampering, its not. Time will tell.

Re:Yay Comcast. (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314343)

It's a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure if it's out of any charity towards their customer base, or if it's because the previous policy of blindly complying with all these subpoenas was an expensive PITA for them.

I'd still rather masturbate with a fistful of broken glass than voluntarily use their services, but this act is a good first step towards reversing that opinion.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1, Offtopic)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314597)

I'd still rather masturbate with a fistful of broken glass than voluntarily use their services.

You clearly don't know how much *that* hurts !

Re:Yay Comcast. (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314463)

It's simple math. The more money Comcast's customers shell out to copyright trolls, the less money they have to shovel into Comcast's coffers.

Re:Yay Comcast. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313679)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend - until they give me shitty service again.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

minchazo (1548055) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314073)

Maxim #29: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less.
Schlock Mercenary

Re:Yay Comcast. (5, Funny)

Brewster Jennings (2642639) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313843)

I am afraid to express an opinion about a cable provider ever since -- when the topic came up for discussion among friends -- I boldly informed them that I like Cox.

They still refuse to let it go, the bastards.

Re:Yay Comcast. (4, Funny)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314043)

Dude - I know what you mean. Sure, even a perfect /. editor can sometimes miss something during a submission, but this is going too far! Even after a double take it still says that Comcast did something other than going out of their way to screw their customers. That's it, I'm turning in my Slashdot license and actually reading this article. I'm also going to pinch myself, and if I don't wake up, start holding my breath.

Re:Yay Comcast. (5, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314139)

You are looking at it the wrong way.

This is Comcast not complying, that is their standard operating procedure. If they can find a way to not do something, they will not do that thing.

The fact that this actually helps their customers is purely unintentional.

Re:Yay Comcast. (4, Funny)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314525)

Thank you. I feel better now that I know I can turn back from these feelings of appreciation bubbling up.

Re:Yay Comcast. (5, Interesting)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314153)

Bear with me for a second:

Pirating customers are heavy users.

Comcast is implementing usage-based tiered billing.

It is now in Comcast's best interest for customers to pirate, because it means they get more money.

Re:Yay Comcast. (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314375)

Wish I had mod points today... best opinion I've seen on the subject so far. You'll have to settle for a silent thumbs-up from this quarter, but the mods could do well to amp the post up for visibility.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314615)

Well we do like to promote the use of market pressures to drive correct behavior. Score one for the free folk.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315119)

You stole my post. Good thoughts.

Re:Yay Comcast. (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314049)

I take back every nasty thing I ever said about Comcast.

Don't hold your breath. Comcast is not doing this because they are on your side. As soon as the RI/MP AA coughs up some more money to cover Comcast's troubles, they will be back to business as usual.

Re:Yay Comcast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314085)

Your statement raised to the 100th power.

CAPTCHA = sideline

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314479)

Now if only you'd stopped dropping me off the Internet every five minutes during the weekend I'd probably recommend your service, if you provided a decent, non-laggy DNS server I'd even praise you from time to time.

Re:Yay Comcast. (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314723)

Now if only you'd stopped dropping me off the Internet every five minutes during the weekend I'd probably recommend your service, if you provided a decent, non-laggy DNS server I'd even praise you from time to time.

Keep bitching to them. My service almost never goes down.
And stop using their DNS. Google's 8.8.8.8 is free and fast.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314849)

Well they have to do that so you'll use their VOD service rather than Netflix.

Re:Yay Comcast. (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314991)

What's stopping you from using another non-laggy DNS server?

Frosty Pizz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313627)

George Zimmerman's fat wife wants to sit on your face!

Hats Off (3, Funny)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313637)

I had my doubts about Comcast for some time now, but if they keep this up, they may keep me as a customer.

Re:Hats Off (3, Funny)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313789)

I think I have to eat mine.

Re:Hats Off (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314185)

I had my doubts about Comcast for some time now, but if they keep this up, they may keep me as a customer.

Eh. Ironically, Comcast has made it pretty clear in other reports that this is about the costs involved with complying with the subpoenas.

So, basically, Comcast is saying "We were fine with fucking over our own customers, but you guys have made it too expensive!".

Which amazes me, mostly because Comcast had a chance to finally appear consumer-friendly, and they go around and make sure everybody knows that they're being consumer friendly THIS time, but they don't really mean it, baby, they haven't changed...

The Twilight Zone (4, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313639)

For a second I thought I was pulled into an episode of the The Twilight Zone. Comcast is the last company I expect this from. Go Comcast?

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Interesting)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313665)

The motive is probably based on $$$$$. Comcast probably wastes a lot of money handling these supeona requests, and they finally decided it was cheaper to say "no" then to comply.

Re:The Twilight Zone (3, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313781)

You're right. They aren't doing it, because it's the right thing to do, but I'm still happy they're doing it.

Re:The Twilight Zone (3, Funny)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314549)

Oh sort of like the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Oh wait, does that mean Comcast is my friend or the MPAA? I'm so confused!

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313801)

Well it takes lawyers to say NO too. And they don't work for free.

The best they can hope for is to establish a precedent and make the nuisance subpoenas reduce in scope.
Fighting a validly issued subpoena is a costly legal move. A minimum wage clerk can knock out a hundred
replies to these in half an hour with automated tools. That would be the cheap approach.

So there is some financial outlay involved with this approach, and the return on that investment is
probably questionable and short lived, and may blow back in their face if they lose safe harbor
protection by fighting these subpoenas.

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313925)

"lose safe harbor protection"

Lose what?

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314123)

"lose safe harbor protection"

Lose what?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act [wikipedia.org]

The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act is United States federal law that creates a conditional safe harbor for internet service providers (ISPs) by shielding them from potential secondary liability for the infringing acts of others.

If Comcast can be found to be aiding and abetting infringers, they may end up being judged directly responsible for the infringement carried on by others who happen to participate in a bit torrent of infringing media. Safe harbor is granted to ISPs to prevent them from having to monitor every packet transiting their network. However the media industry is sure to claim that comcast became a participant in infringement the minute they stepped in and tried to quash these subpoenas. Watch and see.

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314177)

The lawyers cost the same whether they're saying "no", or handing over the clerk's reports.

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314275)

When I worked for an small ISP (roughly 80,000 subscribers), subpoenas were not a matter of a minimum wage clerk handling these. All subpoenas were routed to the legal department where they were reviewed. Once legal was satisfied that everything was in order they would hand it to operations to actually retrieve the requested data. Once the request was complete, operations would hand it back to legal who would then give it to the proper authorities.

It is important to note that subpoenas were not rubber stamped by the legal team. They would often deny subpoenas as unrealistic (IP address, connection start time, connection end time, Name, billing address, for every subscriber in every jurisdiction over a two week period) or not possible to fulfill. So I would not be surprised if the cost of fulfilling the subpoenas at Comcast is significant.

Re:The Twilight Zone (3, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314527)

Well it takes lawyers to say NO too. And they don't work for free.

Well, it also takes lawyers to say yes and hand over the reports.

Saying "no" is a lot cheaper because it involves the lawyer only. Saying "yes" means you need to get technicians involved as well and a bunch of other people, who probably get paid to do other work than look at logs all day. Plus, it's easier for a lawyer to say no to a lawsuit with 4000 John Does on it than to have to look up those 4000 people, retrieve their customer records, sanitize what isn't in the request, and then provide it. Saying no probably takes a lawyer a day to do. Doing the 4,000 lookups... a few days of several people including a lawyer to ensure that the request was fulfilled properly.

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314747)

What makes you think Comcast would sanitize anything that's not in the request?

I agree with you though. It's easy to confuse Comcast with a regular business from time to time.

Re:The Twilight Zone (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314779)

You only need technicians involved if you are small potatoes.
If you have to fish thru logs you are doing it wrong.

Any really large organization can automate this, by placing the data in a database, and get the the incremental cost down pennies.

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Informative)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313835)

P.S. I just noticed all four companies that Comcast is saying "no" to are pornography companies. I wonder what the downloaders acquired which made them targets for extortionate letters?

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313885)

I wonder what the downloaders acquired which made them targets for extortionate letters?

I would guess porn.

Or do you want to know the titles in case you're missing something good?

Re:The Twilight Zone (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314023)

fightcopyrighttrolls.com is a good site for finding out what exactly has been going on. Specificyally, yes, this has been a copyright shakedown in which the companies involved have almost never actually taken anyone to court. They've been filing lawsuits with hundreds or thousands of defendants and mailing them threatening letters regarding how embarassing it would be to have their name publicly associated with a lawsuit regarding this type of content. If they drag it out long enough, many people don't know or are to scared to fight it and settle out for 2,500 or so a piece. Anyone who fights back, or in many cases simply ignores them is eventually dropped from the lawsuit.

Some of the site owners have been bragging that they made more from the lawsuit settlements than all their memberships fees for the year.

Re:The Twilight Zone (2)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313889)

DING DING DING
Mod parent up. Now make no mistake, part of their internal accounting might include revenue lost from Bad-Press(tm) by just naming names vs revenue gained due to good-press by not naming names. But a good part of it is surely the ongoing cost of complying vs the "one-time" cost of fighting and not having to comply ever again.

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

CrtxReavr (62039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314009)

You're probably right. . . but I'll take it.

Go Comcast!

Re:The Twilight Zone (2)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314067)

Pron companies:
AF Holdings
Pacific Century
Sunlust Pictures
First Time Videos

Comcast replied: "Third, plaintiffs should not be allowed to profit from unfair litigation tactics whereby they use the offices of the Court as an inexpensive means to gain John Doe defendantsâ(TM) personal information and coerce "settlements" from them." - If I ever got one of these 'Pay us $5000 or else' letters I'd just throw it in the trash.

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314225)

they finally decided it was cheaper to say "no" then to comply.

If they say "no," they aren't complying.

Re:The Twilight Zone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314435)

they finally decided it was cheaper to say "no" than to comply.

FTFY

Re:The Twilight Zone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314235)

Why would you say "no" then comply?

Re:The Twilight Zone (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314635)

What if the subpoena is from NBC? You know, the massive copyright holder that Comcast owns?

Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313655)

Finally. This is the only way that the RIAA/MPAA will change its ways: when other massive corporations start to fight back in court. Triple bonus to Comcast for calling this what it is: a shakedown organized through the legal system. I normally hate Comcast with a passion, but I will cheer them on in this fight. Bring out the popcorn!

Re:Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313827)

Finally. This is the only way that the RIAA/MPAA will change its ways: when other massive corporations start to fight back in court. Triple bonus to Comcast for calling this what it is: a shakedown organized through the legal system. I normally hate Comcast with a passion, but I will cheer them on in this fight. Bring out the popcorn!

But...this is Comcast. As in Comcast / NBC / Universal, member of the RIAA/MPAA.

I am so confused I read the summary three times. I might need to break down and read the article.

Re:Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313943)

That's the best part. A large conglomerate is about to start a nasty internal lawyer fight. Can't wait to see how that is going to pan out.

Re:Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314055)

So what they really don't want to do is help other rightsholders, eh? I wonder if they'll fight these subpoenas from other more mainstream music/movie/Tv rightsholders? If so, wouldn't that constitute them using their market power in one market to unfairly compete in a different market?

Re:Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (3, Informative)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314121)

That's the best part. A large conglomerate is about to start a nasty internal lawyer fight. Can't wait to see how that is going to pan out.

I broke down and read the article. The people requesting the subpoenas Comcast is fighting are all in the porn industry. So, not RIAA/MPAA. Some high-level executive is probably on the subpoena list :)

Either way, setting the precedent is good.

Re:Hooray! Copyright fight becomes meaningful (3, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314641)

Finally. This is the only way that the RIAA/MPAA will change its ways: when other massive corporations start to fight back in court. Triple bonus to Comcast for calling this what it is: a shakedown organized through the legal system. I normally hate Comcast with a passion, but I will cheer them on in this fight. Bring out the popcorn!

Make no mistake, their motive is profit and nothing more. Now that there is legal grounds that allows you to say "no" every ISP will be doing the same thing because it will eventually make this whole legal shakedown route impassable. Fairly quickly the shakedown artists will either figure out this doesn't work anymore and stop, or they will go broke trying. Once the message gets out that it doesn't pay, folks will stop doing it and the ISP's won't have to deal with it anymore and they can stop paying lawyers and admins to handle such requests.

It's all about profit....

Plus 1 for Comcast! (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313691)

Wow Comcast... What happened to you man, you used to be sooo evil. First removing data caps, now this? What's next free nbz?

Re:Plus 1 for Comcast! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313805)

Wait. They removed the data caps? Since when?

If they did that, and if they can match the speed of my current FTTH connection, I may just switch back.

Re:Plus 1 for Comcast! (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313861)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/05/17/218236/comcast-to-remove-data-cap-implement-tiered-pricing [slashdot.org] It's not a free for all, more of a free for most. The frequency of the "Hey what are you doing with all that data" calls dropped significantly, and they don't cut off your service anymore.

Re:Plus 1 for Comcast! (0)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314081)

That's still a bandwidth cap, you can just buy as much as you need.

Far better than what they were doing, but I think I'll stick with Verizon for now. Still, good to know that there's an at least somewhat-acceptable alternative, should Verizon's Fiber division be taken over by their Cellular division, who are clearly working for al-Quada.

Re:Plus 1 for Comcast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314759)

"Still, good to know that there's an at least somewhat-acceptable alternative, should Verizon's Fiber division be taken over by their Cellular division, who are clearly working for al-Quada."

lmao...

I love you.

Re:Plus 1 for Comcast! (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314119)

See, the thing to me is charging per GB makes no sense. Comcast already had the correct technical solution in place, throttle all data from heavy users when the uplink from the cable head end is nearing saturation. It's content agnostic and solves the problem of the real limited resource. They can receive additional revenue from heavy users by offering them better top end speeds when the network is not congested.

Who would have thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313717)

Guess corporatism does work after all.
I hope this copyright nonsense and abuse of the court system gets curbed by this.
I know that Comcast has alterior motives, good pr and more traffic, but this is nice.

Re:Who would have thought (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313751)

Don't kid yourself.

Comcast is only fighting back because having its subscribers targeted by subpoenas is bad for business.

Re:Who would have thought (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313849)

See, that's the great thing about capitalism. It doesn't attempt to change human nature, it allows human nature to work as is and get the same results as you would with super-moral people who care immensely about others.

Re:Who would have thought (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314113)

Rubbish. If Capitalism hits on a morally good outcome, it's by pure fluke.

Capitalism is often exploited by people who are following their human nature to lie, cheat, steal, and other stuff. You know, things like putting melamine into baby formula.

Capitalism doesn't give a fuck about you, and is in fact amoral (note I don't say immoral, but it does yield a lot of immoral things).

If you believe what you wrote, you're an idealist who still believes the system works -- it doesn't, it only works for those who have money and can pay to exploit the rules.

As it exists, Capitalism is mostly about trying to make sure the loopholes are all stacked in your favor instead of anybody else. This great wonderful thing you call Capitalism which always arrives at good outcomes is a myth. Companies would make skin care products out of 3rd world children if they could get away with it and if it was profitable.

Re:Who would have thought (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314247)

The thing about capitalism is it allows you to support only the things YOU want. Don't want melamine in baby formula? Don't buy it, don't support it, make sure that all the formula you buy is melamine free and has been tested by three labs if you want. For example, I don't like Sony's policies so I don't have to give Sony a penny of my money. I also don't like the wars, the welfare state, etc. but I still have to pay taxes or else I go to jail.

See, the only reason companies are profitable in pure capitalism is because they provide things that people want in ways that they want them, otherwise they go bankrupt and even if someone else wanted to support them by buying their product. You would not have to spend a single penny. There is not a single thing (outside of government) that I buy that does not improve my standard of living. If they didn't, I wouldn't buy them, I wouldn't support the companies.

Re:Who would have thought (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314567)

If government winked out of existence this evening, what makes you think the RIAA wouldn't start sending out goon squads a minute later.

Nobody wanted melamine in the baby food. 'Don't buy it' won't resurrect the baby. Nobody wanted poison in the cough syrup either, but it was in there.

Re:Who would have thought (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315061)

Nobody wanted poison in the cough syrup either, but it was in there.

But how did the MAFIAA get it into the cough syrup?

Re:Who would have thought (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314623)

In this one speciality situation where the right thing to do coincided with the easiest thing to do and the most profitable.

And you saying that the right thing to do is always the easiest or most profitable?

SOPA (2)

detritus. (46421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313755)

Just imagine if SOPA had passed. They would have been shut down overnight for taking a stand like that.

Re:SOPA (4, Insightful)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313869)

Shutting down an ISP as large as Comcast and leaving 17 million people unable to connect to the Internet. Somehow I doubt our government, while pretty dumb, would be dumb enough to cause a shit-storm that massive.

Re:SOPA (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313993)

Just imagine how many basement dwellers would get out to vote. Ridiculously photogenic guy for president2012!

Re:SOPA (1)

detritus. (46421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314005)

Yet Wikipedia and Google were both scared shitless and opposed it, and they have far more than 17 million users.

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313765)

I take back half the nasty things I've said about Comcast. Or at least 1/4 ...

Right Thing, Wrong Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313787)

celebrate the action. But remember -- Comcast doesn't give a damn about you.

They don't want to comply with this because it's too damned expensive for them to maintain the teams that answer it without exposing them to customer litigation

Don't kid yourself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313791)

As soon as CEO man gets a check, they'll go right back to complying.

Comcast? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313799)

Really Comcast? I think my head just exploded. There must have been something really expensive going on corporately to supply the data. I can't believe that they would ever do anything for a customer.

Re:Comcast? (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313859)

Maybe they finally figured out that for the medium and longer term its better to actually please and fight for the customers.

But then again, I'm probably wrong.

Re:Comcast? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313983)

They're fighting against having to spend the time to do this all the time and the associated costs.

Undoubtedly, they get fairly constant levels of requests for this information, which they need to expend a lot of resources getting the information.

I would be skeptical about them doing it for customers ... but it might just be convenient to use that as a legal argument to get them off the hook for paying the costs of policing the internet for the rights holders; all of whom believe it should be the ISPs footing the cost of this.

About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313825)

It's about time they did something right. Maybe all the Anonymous threats against them is having an effect.

Up is down, day is night... (2)

SamuraiHoedown (1769404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313829)

An article featuring Comcast in a positive light on Slashdot, truly this is the end of days.

Wha? (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313845)

So I (heart) Comcast now?

Really, you've got to make up your mind; it is getting harder to remember who to hate and who to like.

PS: We still hate Apple, right?

Re:Wha? (2)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314017)

I know you're joking, but people seriously needs to get away from such black-and-white thinking.

You can like or love specific things about something you hate, and hate specific things about something you like.

Or be completely neutral. And get flamed by ideologues on both side for "not taking a stand."

While it's nice that Comcast is standing up.... (4, Informative)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313855)

While it's nice that Comcast is standing up to them, if you read through you'll find that it's four porn companies. In other words, they're not standing up (in this case, at least) to any of the MAFIAA members.

Re:While it's nice that Comcast is standing up.... (3, Funny)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314037)

While it's nice that Comcast is standing up to them, if you read through you'll find that it's four porn companies. In other words, they're not standing up (in this case, at least) to any of the MAFIAA members.

So what you're saying is, they're impotent and flaccid when facing the MAFIAA?

Re:While it's nice that Comcast is standing up.... (3, Interesting)

UPZ (947916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314131)

While it's nice that Comcast is standing up to them, if you read through you'll find that it's four porn companies. In other words, they're not standing up (in this case, at least) to any of the MAFIAA members.

While it's true that they are only standing up against porn companies, if successful it sets a broader precedent in courts that people can rely on.

Re:While it's nice that Comcast is standing up.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40314603)

Considering that Comcast is a subsidiary of a MAFIAA member, it is surprising they took this fight on at all.

Re:While it's nice that Comcast is standing up.... (4, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314717)

While it's nice that Comcast is standing up to them, if you read through you'll find that it's four porn companies. In other words, they're not standing up (in this case, at least) to any of the MAFIAA members.

True, but precedent doesn't care who the parties in the case were. If Comcast succeeds, this argument can be used in the future just as effectively against Comcast's overlords.

The real reason is money. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313893)

A few Subpeona's here and there are fine, sure they cost you, but it's a cost of doing business.

That's that right up until some company wants to subpeona 4,000 of your users, per week.

And the thing is these subpeona's, they aren't for john doe at 127.0.0.1 on 6/15/2010, they're for MAC addresses, traffic usage reports, etc and the requestor gets NASTY if they don't get what they want.

Either you spend an ungodly amount of cash complying, or you go the cheaper route; get the lawyers to tell them to go pound sand.

Re:The real reason is money. (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314143)

From having worked at a regional ISP I can verify we made money off law enforcement requests because we billed their jurisdiction a reasonable rate. We made money off "real" civil suits because we could roll our bill into a trial. However, how would an ISP make money off an extortion ring, like this situation? We tended to bill kind of on the hefty side, so we'd be getting a significant fraction of the extortion money, which the extorters are not going to like and probably are not going to pay. Further 4000 users a week means hiring and staffing a small department which is not going to be cheap.

Now if the extorters would split the money 50:50 with the ISP, then they'd be talking... if and only if all the ISPs were doing that. 4000 users per week is a pretty large number of customers to send to our competitors, and hilariously maybe they're only sending requests to Comcast and not AT+T and they know it.

Re:The real reason is money. (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314949)

You do realize as a third party they get to bill out a pretty hefty rate?

There are some things ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313947)

... so vile, even Comcast won't do them.

Repeatedly, that is.

Like a prison bitch (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313951)

They're only protecting their customers to secure their ability to keep screwing them up the ass.

A financial decision presented as ethical (3, Insightful)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40313987)

If you get bills through the mail (from Comcast included), then you've been urged to "Go Green!" by going paperless. We know they don't give a crap about saving a few trees. They're trying to reduce their costs (paper, stamps, design, etc.) If emailing statements was more expensive, they would not push us in that direction.

I'm guessing Comcast is doing this exclusively for the same reason (saving money) and covering it up with the same moral wrapping paper.

They're sick bastards but, hey, if it puts a stop to this....

Comcast *like* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40313991)

:slow-clap:

Wait, what? (1)

cstec (521534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314091)

I was just seriously shopping to dump Comcast for forgetting who their paying customer is with their sleeping-with-the-RIAA crap. This will buy them one month.

Laziness (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314455)

...for a good cause.

Seriously, why is the only reason good things ever happen online laziness? It doesn't reflect well on those in power.

This is about keeping customers and making money! (4, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314531)

First, and foremost Comcast is in business to make a profit. Make no mistake, if they thought they could profit from turning folks in, they would. Read some of the supporting documents. Verizon (a Comcast competitor) has taken a stand and started saying "Nope" to the courts/. Apparently they have enough legal ground to quash the "track this IP for us" requests. This is a two fold benefit to any ISP. First, you don't have to waste time and money having your staff searching though logs to find out who had that IP at that time. Second, you keep a small segment of your customers who care about such things from running to your competition.

Surely this problem will go away for all ISP's in fairly short order. Once an ISP starts successfully protesting such requests for information, the guys doing the shakedowns will eventually stop wasting time/money making the requests. ISP's will have to pay their lawyers a bit more up front to stop such requests, but eventually this will get them OUT of the business of turning in their subscribers by keeping them out of court. With the profits fading away, the shakedown artists will have abandon the courts and try to come up with some other way to do their shakedowns.

This is NOT over. Verizon, Comcast and others have signed on to start giving their customers warnings on behalf of various copyright holders for various types of infringing content passing over their networks. It's called something like "six strikes" and the providers are hoping it will allow them to generate more business for their "legal" services, by working in cooperation with MPAA and others. I hold now illusions that this "solution" is a good thing for anybody, except perhaps for the ISP's who see it as a marketing opportunity. I wonder if my bittorrent activity (all legal by the way) will draw a warning from Verizon (my ISP). I know they don't like bittorrent and it sure seems that they throttle my connection when I have active transfers, so I'm half expecting to be "warned" about the Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS distributions I try to seed over my 25Mbit connection.

They are in this for the profit. If they got a percentage of the shakedown take, you'd bet they be out there actively turning folks in before they got asked. They are simply making a business decision that it will cost less and maximize profits to take this route, and given that there seems to be legal justification now for saying "Nope!" that the court is accepting you can bet this will continue. If alternate legal tactics alter the economics for the ISP's, you can bet they will be turning folks in once more. If it proves profitable to start the "warning" process with their customers, even before a copyright holder complains, you can be the will do that too.

ABOUT . . . . (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314691)

FARKIN TIME!

Mayan Calendar (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40314711)

ah... must be April's Fool day in the Mayan calendar... else some sneaky ninja has changed the dates on all my clocks/watches/phones at home again!

I am so disappointed (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315011)

The plaintiffs in case are in the adult entertainment business. 90+ comments so far and not one "Or vagina" comment when it is now appropriate.

What is wrong with you people?!!

Pot - meet Kettle (1)

mpfife (655916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40315013)

Wow - two sleazy set of company lawyers at odds - this should get good! Maybe the only way to defeat evil, is with more evil...
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