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Comcast: piracy case 'shaking down' potential infringers

updated 12:24 am EDT, Thu June 14, 2012

Motion to suppress subpoenas filed, information not revealed

Internet provider Comcast historically complies with content owner's requests to name BitTorrent infringers when provided with sufficient data, but a legal skirmish in the Illinois district court is playing out differently. Comcast has asked the court to dismiss the subpoenas for subscriber's information issued in a battle with four adult video purveyors, saying the case is about coercing settlements out of the 264 potential infringers rather than pursuing legal action.

Other claims in the attempt to eliminate the subpoenas are noted in Comcast's motion, such as defendants being located in Florida, well outside the Illinois court jurisdiction, as well as the original subpoenas being "overbroad" in reach and imposing an undue burden on the defendants. Federal court rules require discovery be denied "to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense" which a subpoena from Illinois to a defendant in Florida would certainly undergo.

Statistics listed in Comcast's motion about the plaintiffs include one company involved had previously filed 118 lawsuits against 15,000 "John Does", and another company had filed 34 similar cases in the same Illinois court since March 1, 2012, also involving potential infringers spread across the United States.

Nothing is completely hidden on the Internet. US BitTorrent users face ISP and content owner monitoring, and can be identified, should the ISP cooperate with a complaining content owner. Comcast's motion was filed after the customary 14-day window normally required for a objection, so outright dismissal of the motion is possible. Comcast joins Verizon in the ranks of ISPs refusing to turn over subscriber's identities to content holders. [via Torrent Freak]


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