Comcast Labels Innocent Customer a Movie Pirate

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Comcast doesn't really have a good reputation in the BitTorrent community and it's getting worse by the day. They now have plans to cooperate with the RIAA and disconnect alleged copyright infringers. A worrisome development, especially since they have a tendency to accuse innocent customers.

comcastAs we have reported many times before, gathering evidence against copyright infringers is not an exact science. Most recently, Comcast sent out an infringement notice to an innocent subscriber because their administration was not up-to-date

Dave Satz wrote in to inform us that one of his friends was served with a DMCA takedown notice a few weeks ago. His friend, John Aprigliano, had allegedly downloaded a CAM release of “Cadillac Records”, without ever having heard of the movie. Although these takedown notices are just a formality and intended to scare the recipient, John decided to contact his ISP and ask for clarification.

After four calls to Comcast support the truth came out. The infringement notice was forwarded to the wrong person because the MAC-address of John’s old modem was still linked to his account. The Comcast techs eventually corrected the mistake, but this case yet again shows how inaccurate takedown notices can be.

Of course, this is just an exception, without any serious consequences. But what if John had lived in Ireland or New Zealand? He could have lost his Internet connection because of a mistake like this. Not to mention that if Comcast doesn’t screw up, the companies that collect the so called evidence might – it wouldn’t be the first time.

The RIAA is currently trying to get ISPs all across the world, including Comcast, on board for their “three-strikes” or “graduated response” scheme. Earlier this week ZDNet reported that AT&T and Comcast are seriously considering teaming up with the RIAA later this year to hunt down illegal filesharers. Let’s hope Comcast has fixed its administration by then.


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