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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Comcast Got Tired of Entertainment Industry

American Internet service provider Comcast has finally said “enough” and refused to waste time helping the entertainment industry chase file-sharers anymore. The ISP is miffed that it has been given plenty BitTorrent lawsuits in the US and doesn’t want to comply with court-ordered subpoenas.

Comcast’s argument is that the industry is “shaking down” the customers by scaring them into paying settlements. Of course, the entertainment industry became furious that someone stood up to its tactics, and claimed that the broadband providers denied rights owners the opportunity to protect their works.

In the United States, the RIAA and MPAA monitor users downloading and sharing copyrighted content and then demand large sums of cash from the owners of the IP address. The industry seems to believe that it’s a much better method of dealing with online piracy than offering legitimate alternatives to the customers.

Over 250,000 alleged BitTorrent users have been sued, most of the lawsuits being filed by the porn studios, which hoped that the people they accused would be too embarrassed to fight the case. Mainstream film studios and book publishers also joined in lately.

Earlier, the ISP complied with all the subpoenas, but now gave up and told the Illinois District court that it wants them quashed. First of all, the Internet service provider claimed that the court didn’t even have jurisdiction over some of the defendants, since those didn’t reside in the district where they were being sued. In addition, the company argued that the rights owners had no grounds to join this bunch of the defendants in a single lawsuit. The claims were that the copyright holders were exploiting the court in order to force defendants into paying settlements.

The ISP’s attorneys pointed out that plaintiffs shouldn’t be allowed to profit from unfair litigation tactics where the industry uses the court rooms to gain defendants’ personal data and demand settlements from them. In other words, it’s obvious that the industry has no interest in actual litigation; they rather seek to use both the court and its subpoena powers to shake the file-sharers down.

Comcast is just a part of a movement amongst Internet service providers to fight mass-BitTorrent cases. Recently, Verizon did the same, managing to argue that it has an obligation to protect the privacy of its subscribers.

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