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Comcast Starts Standing Up to BitTorrent Lawsuits
Argues That Outfits Are Engaged in 'Shake Downs'
by Karl Bode 08:45AM Wednesday Jun 13 2012 Tipped by FFH5 See Profile
Comcast has started fighting back against BitTorrent lawsuit outfits the company says are simply interested in "shaking down" Comcast customers. An increasing number of copyright holders have been engaging in aggressive "settlement-o-matic" efforts to make a quick buck, sending a subpoena to an ISP to request the personal information behind an IP address, followed by a notice informing the user that they can avoid nasty litigation and pay a settlement.

Dislike of these efforts is common, and the bundling of massive numbers of users into one lawsuit remains legally dubious, but it's interesting to see a major media powerhouse stepping up to them. Torrent Freak notes that while Comcast used to comply to these subpoenas, they're fighting back against AF HOLDINGS -- a porn publisher trying to score quick cash from porn BitTorrent traders. The company is refusing to comply with a subpoena from the group's lawyer, and kicking back hard at the entire process.

“It is evident in these cases – and the multitude of cases filed by plaintiffs and other pornographers represented by their counsel – that plaintiffs have no interest in actually litigating their claims against the Doe defendants, but simply seek to use the Court and its subpoena powers to obtain sufficient information to shake down the Doe defendants," writes Comcast lawyers. “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 Doe defendants’ personal information and coerce ‘settlements’ from them," says Comcast.

Comcast's move follows on the heels of similar move by Verizon, who is refusing to comply with subpoenas from e-book publisher Wiley & Sons. While Comcast and Verizon may not have an interest in helping porn or e-book publishers glean quick cash from their customers, they have both previously helped similar outfits (like the U.S. Copyright Group) when the content in question has been television and film content. Both companies are set to participate in a massive new copyright campaign this July that could involve throttling or filtering Internet connections.

topics flat nest 

Mechanicsville, VA

Must be nice...

To have the monopoly they do so they can pick and choose what groups they bow to and which ones they do not. If this goes any further with the current groups they are fighting and Comcast is successful in squashing these types of law suits, then they should be FORCED to treat the larger media companies they are bowing to the same way.

Ai Otsukaholic
·Clear Wireless
·Cox HSI
·Verizon FiOS

Abuse of process

If they really have no intention to eventually sue it is abuse of process. Also if they have no intention of actually suing, how it is that not extortion or blackmail? "You pay us X or Y will happen" even though there is no intention to ever make Y happen and the threat of "exposing" someone as a porn hound is really no different than blackmailing someone with illicit pictures or whatever.

Good for Comcast in any event.

Snohomish, WA

They aren't doing this for you...

This is about the cost of providing the info, and the negitive PR it generates, it isn't about protecting pirates.

boogi man

Jacksonville, FL

picking and choosing

of course they are going to go along with the movie and tv studios.... that's their revenue. porn e-books music? meh not so much. so they can say f-you to some and get some good pr after they already helped the studios they want/need to save face with
my site

Go Colts
Fort Wayne, IN

Re: picking and choosing

said by boogi man:

of course they are going to go along with the movie and tv studios....

I bet if USCG came back and wanted 25k, 50k, 100k records for another Hollywood studio that they would get the same push back. When ISPs were first getting the bulk requests, ISPs didn't have the supporting evidence that the requestors were just using the ISPs and the court subpoenas for shaking down users with no intentions of really going after those that ignore or fight back. Now that they have some history to show that they and the courts are being used, I bet you see more articles like this.

ISPs couldn't care less about your information and privacy. They are concerned about making money, reducing/eliminating expenditures that aren't going to make them money, and their image that impacts how much money it makes them.

Canonsburg, PA

Re: They aren't doing this for you...

said by tshirt:

This is about the cost of providing the info, and the negitive PR it generates, it isn't about protecting pirates.

In other words it could be beneficial to law abiding Comcast shareholders and subscribers. Protecting pirates has never been part of their business model.

Everett, WA

Just brcause it was porn

They are only doing this as it is content they do not compete with(porn). If it was a mainstream movie they would comply as that has the potential to harm their interests.