Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Comcast Refusing Subpoenas Over Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

By - Source: TorrentFreak | B 29 comments

Now Comcast is denying subpoenas related to alleged BitTorrent pirates.

TorrentFreak reports that Comcast is now refusing court-ordered subpoenas regarding BitTorrent lawsuits, claiming that they're intended to "shake down" its subscribers by coercing them to pay settlements.

It's a similar move made by Verizon Wireless as reported last month. The Big Red said it was refusing to hand over subscriber information to book publisher John Wiley and Sons, saying that Wiley intended to "harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation" regarding alleged BitTorrent pirates downloading the publisher's books.

Verizon also made known its doubts that a subpoena would lead to the discovery of "relevant information." Essentially the company said that BitTorrent downloads linked to an IP address doesn't necessarily mean that the subscriber is guilty of piracy -- someone else could have accessed the Internet through that IP using a different device.

As for Comcast, it initially complied with court-ordered subpoenas, but an ongoing battle in the Illinois District Court indicates that the company has changed its tune. Rather than hand over user information, the company asked to terminate the subpoenas based on the fact that the court doesn't have jurisdiction over all defendants because they don't live within the district in which they are being sued.

Does that sound familiar? It should, as this train of thought has terminated numerous John Doe lawsuits over the past year. Judges are beginning to throw BitTorrent-related lawsuits out of court for that very reason: that many IP addresses linking to John Doe individuals and grouped together in one bulk lawsuit don't reside within their district.

Comcast also now argues that copyright holders have no grounds to join numerous defendants in one lawsuit. Even more, Comcast is accusing copyright holders of exploiting the court in order to coerce defendants into coughing up money.

"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," Comcast’s lawyers write.

"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," Comcast adds.

The attorney for adult publisher AF HOLDINGS retaliated, saying that "Comcast’s delay in objecting to the Plaintiffs’ subpoenas is part of a wider campaign to deny and delay the Plaintiffs’, and other similar copyright holders’, ability to protect their copyrighted works."

"Even after courts regularly order Comcast to comply with the subpoenas, Comcast fights tooth and nail to resist complying," the attorney added.

Discuss
Display all 29 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    pdxgfx , June 14, 2012 5:09 PM
    Um, go Comcast? Wow that felt wrong.
  • 20 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 14, 2012 5:14 PM
    You should thank Verizon for refusing to hand out subscriber info first. No way Comcast would do this without Verizon setting the precedence.
  • 19 Hide
    tleavit , June 14, 2012 5:10 PM
    +1 props to the Comcast!
Other Comments
  • 29 Hide
    pdxgfx , June 14, 2012 5:09 PM
    Um, go Comcast? Wow that felt wrong.
  • 19 Hide
    tleavit , June 14, 2012 5:10 PM
    +1 props to the Comcast!
  • 20 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 14, 2012 5:14 PM
    You should thank Verizon for refusing to hand out subscriber info first. No way Comcast would do this without Verizon setting the precedence.
  • 11 Hide
    brucen13 , June 14, 2012 5:21 PM
    "It is evident in these cases – and the multitude of cases filed by plaintiffs and other pornographers represented by their counsel..."

    Love how Comcast wrote that! It implies that all plaintiffs in cases involving Comcast are pornographers.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 5:27 PM
    It definitely feels ludicrous to be cheering for these two companies, Verizon and Comcast. What next, ATT!?

    The world AS WE KNOW IT is changing. December 21, 2012: ATT decides to revoke data caps on all usage plans.
  • 8 Hide
    Khimera2000 , June 14, 2012 5:31 PM
    Didn't expect this news when I woke up this morning : )) Comcast does something good for there customer, that's a shocker... The thought that the good came out of there Legal Department even more of a surprise 0.o
  • 5 Hide
    inerax , June 14, 2012 5:33 PM
    brucen13"It is evident in these cases – and the multitude of cases filed by plaintiffs and other pornographers represented by their counsel..."Love how Comcast wrote that! It implies that all plaintiffs in cases involving Comcast are pornographers.


    Internet is used for anything else? lol JK
  • 8 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 14, 2012 5:42 PM
    I have hope that eventually the courts will realize that an IP address != a person. There have already been legal precedents for this, but it is far from being widely accepted. These lawsuits are nothing but extortion. As mentioned in the article, the plaintiffs have no desire to go to court and are just trying to milk people for money. "We're suing you for $200,000 but will settle out of court for $1500". I think there needs to be a law against frivolous / predatory lawsuits.
  • 10 Hide
    Netherscourge , June 14, 2012 5:44 PM
    Wait a second... did I read this correctly?

    COMCAST is actually DEFENDING it's customers and their rights?

    IN A COURTROOM? WITH THEIR OWN LAWYERS?

    /gasp

    Oh, I see. Next month, all our Comcast rates will go up a few more dollars to pay for all the legal fees. And we're all getting a new QVC shopping channel too.

    Now it makes sense.
  • 1 Hide
    hoof_hearted , June 14, 2012 5:53 PM
    I am sure the people at Comcast want the pron to flow freely as well.
  • -1 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 14, 2012 5:59 PM
    I want to be happy and cheer this... really I do... but thanks to Comcast's horrible service it's about 2 pm where I live and I'm only now seeing this story because their service was out for the past four hours.
  • 0 Hide
    whimseh , June 14, 2012 6:07 PM
    The only way to get rid of piracy would be to not have Internet at all. They will never control or get rid of piracy. If they are going to sue and have lawsuits against 1 or 2 pirates they need to have one against ALL pirates or just piss off completely.

    But gladly I do not pirate anymore because I have discovered that they are real companies that need money for their hard work and to stay in business.
  • -4 Hide
    john_4 , June 14, 2012 6:25 PM
    Ah, the racist traitor Eric Holder and company trying to do shake downs, doesn't surprise me. He needs to be in jail along with his boss "The Kenyan" for Fast & Furious.
  • -2 Hide
    jayracer7474 , June 14, 2012 6:43 PM
    I have comcast, I've hit the 250 gb max twice, I pirate like crazy and I dont have comcast cable, just their internet to download their shows without their commercials ;) 

    go comcast!
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , June 14, 2012 7:46 PM
    Comcast is only doing this because it's costing them money to police the internet for the RIAA/MPAA. As soon as these agencies are willing to pay for your information, I'm sure comcast will have no problems handing it over.
  • 3 Hide
    smelly_feet , June 14, 2012 8:06 PM
    Here's a way to stop piracy. If you're a musician make your money by singing in concerts. If you're in the movie business make it more compelling to see the movie at the theatre (start by making it more affordable). If you're a writer....hmmm not sure how to fix that one..
    The whole industry wants to live off royalties.
  • 3 Hide
    millerm84 , June 14, 2012 8:13 PM
    whimsehThe only way to get rid of piracy would be to not have Internet at all. They will never control or get rid of piracy. If they are going to sue and have lawsuits against 1 or 2 pirates they need to have one against ALL pirates or just piss off completely.But gladly I do not pirate anymore because I have discovered that they are real companies that need money for their hard work and to stay in business.


    There was piracy before the internet, just not a way to effectively track it. I use to copy tapes from other tapes or from CDs long before I heard anyone use the word piracy never though anything of it or that it might be wrong. The line of thinking was once an item was purchased you could do what you wanted to with it. Still the fact remains the music/movie/publishing industries are not angry at what they've lost but what they could have.
  • 0 Hide
    masterasia , June 14, 2012 8:26 PM
    This just brought me a little piece of mind. Now I can sleep through the night. Got one of those letters from Comcast a month ago saying they tracked me downloading this and that. I usually only get TV shows because I don't want to watch the commercials.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , June 14, 2012 8:32 PM
    Comcast doing something good? Did I read this right?
  • -1 Hide
    syrious1 , June 14, 2012 8:33 PM
    this is why I'm glad I have FiOS
Display more comments
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter