Comcast Fights Back Against Mass Bit-torrent Litigation Subpoenas

Written by John Ponio    Wednesday, 13 June 2012 20:12

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In the past few years, the number of bit-torrent law suits has grown extraordinarily. The way it usually happens is that a company (or a collaboration like the RIAA) starts torrenting their copyright work, and from there gets all of the IP addresses that are currently connected to that torrent. After it gets the IP addresses, the company/collaboration goes to the court to get them to subpoena the internet service provider (ISP) for the personal information behind the IP address. With over a quarter million law suits in the past several years, Comcast has grown tired of these subpoenas and has started to fight back.

In a recent copyright law suit, Comcast was given the subpoenas, as it usually happens. Fourteen days later, Comcast served those requesting the court order with letters objecting to the subpoenas. When the copyright holder (a group of pornography-producing companies) tried to get Comcast found in contempt of court, Comcast had an interesting reply. 

There were two interesting reasons, out of three total, in Comcast's objection. One of them is that Comcast claims that the subpoenas "are overbroad and exceed thebounds of fair discovery." The other is basically saying that the companies are merely trying to "shake down" people to get them to settle in order to profit, and they aren't suing for anything other than trying to make money. This is interesting not only because of the case itself, but because of the affect the outcome of this case will have for future copyright cases. Could we actually see the end of blanket-law suits against alleged copyright infringers? 

If you want to read Comcast's full objection, you can do so here