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Verizon cuts Internet for repeat media pirates

updated 03:25 pm EST, Wed January 20, 2010

Verizon first major to disconnect for piracy

Verizon today admitted that it has disconnected some users whose connections have repeatedly been seen carrying pirated material. The provider's spokeswoman, Bobbi Henson, wouldn't say how many or after how many notices but said Verizon has "cut some people off" in small numbers. It had already been sending notices on a wider level since April and for the RIAA in particular since November.

Henson is quick to add that Verizon doesn't monitor its DSL and fiber optic services itself and that it rarely needs more than a single notice. Often the notice is sent to a parent that doesn't realize one or more of their children is pirating material and has the activity put to an end before a second warning is necessary.

An example message forwarded to CNET also reveals that Verizon still refuses to personally identify customers without a legal order and is only notifying the account associated with a given IP address at the time of the supposedly illegal trading.

Even so, the news contradicts Verizon's previous inclination to avoid cutting off service. Potentially, it also hints at Verizon having reached an agreement with music labels and studios where others haven't in the past. Insiders have noted that the RIAA's tentative deals have been "scarecrow" agreements meant to spook pirates through the press rather than any necessary guarantee of action. Verizon isn't legally required to obey cutoff requests.

Larger providers like Comcast still aren't known to disconnect users but indirectly curb piracy by placing caps or throttling service, discouraging pirates from having an always-open BitTorrent client or downloading particularly large material like HD videos and software.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    That truly sucks...

    What would be the point of having FiOS other than downloading movie content? I just downloaded Season 3 of Ugly Betty for two days. I wonder if that's OK. I'm with Time Warner Cable so maybe I should be worried about them looking into my packets. I don't use standard BT ports anymore and never download American movies over BT. I use a premium newsserver instead.

  1. wingdo

    Senior User

    Joined: Apr 2001


    Are you on crack?

    It only sucks if you didn't PAY for Season 3 of Ugly Betty. They didn't say they are stopping people from using FiOS to download ANYTHING legally paid for.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999



    Great, so now the RIAA and MPAA mafia can disconnect anyone at will simply by sending a nastygram to the ISP accusing them of "piracy". No recourse possible, and no investigation needed. In areas with local telecom monopolies, this might effectively mean that these people will be unable to get *ANY* internet service. This is tantamount to a denial of basic rights at this point.

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