Reply
Contributor
JJPDX77
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-18-2012

Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Dear Comcast CSA

I am in receipt of a letter from the Comcast Customer Security Assurance group in which they claim that they were contacted by a third party accusing me of engaging in copyright infringement using my internet account.  The notice describes the type of allegation, the date and time that it allegedly occurred  and is specific enough to include the name of the alleged file as well as how it was obtained.
From the file name's structure, I have deduced that the alleged file in question appears to be a torrent file for a Hollywood film. 
Firstly, I am writing to express extreme dissatisfaction with the way in which this was presented to me; its non-transparency to me as a customer,  the letter's ominous presentation and the total lack of any ability for me as a customer to address the allegation with Comcast and/or the claimant.  This non-disclosure of the identity of the claimant makes the issue so suspicious that it didn't appear to be very "real," to me as a customer and I almost deleted the e-mail thinking it was spam.
 
I don't appreciate the e-mail's tone nor do I appreciate the 10 minute "lecture" that the pre-recorded voice mail message contains when I attempted to call you about it. Like most customers, I assumed (apparently incorrectly) that the phone number given in your address on the letter was an encouragement to call you if I wished to interact with you regarding this claim.  Imagine my frustration when I called a canned voice response system that I view as a complete waste of my time.
To the point, I did not download a file with this name on that date via Bit-Torrent as the letter implies.

As well, the Bit Torrent protocol uses "trackers" and other alleged tracking information that  is highly customizeable, anonymizable, and can be routed/spoofed in many different ways.  Ergo, I'm surprised that anyone still thinks that they can track individual users in a bit torrent swarm and expect that what they find is accurate and/or can prove that it's accurate. It's usually not.  
I am writing today to bring the following causes for concerns to your attention and to hopefully be able to engage you on these topics because I have had a very bad taste in my mouth regarding your customer service since!

1) I am very disappointed that Comcast would relay a report of abuse to me made by a claimant who uses dated tracking methods to try to make potentially frivolous copyright infringement claims.  I have no indication that Comcast has received any definitive, actual evidence of such activity.  If you have, you've neglected to say so.
2) I am very disappointed that Comcast, in the same letter, doesn't indicate WHO the claimant is and provide their contact information so that I, as the accused party, could engage them in further discourse without involving Comcast.  After all, this debate is between the claimant and me; I don't see any need for your involvement at all; frankly.
3) I worked for a private ISP for 8 years (remember those?).  While I'm aware that there wasn't the influx of these types of issues as there are now,  our policy at the time was to not get involved in this issue; but to comply with state and federal laws.  Bottom line, we'd provide the claimant of such an issue with a user's contact information if and ONLY IF they subpoena'd it.  That was the extent of our involvement with this type of issue.  Our commitment to our customers and their privacy prevented us from acting as a mediator between the two parties and it would have been a gross conflict of interest for us to do so. I challenge your involvement in this issue as being perhaps too involved; this is not a position that I want my ISP to adopt. 
The bottom line is that I don't feel your current process does anything other than unnecessarily harass me, unprofessionally accuse me of something I haven't done and puts serious doubt that your company, as my ISP, is truly serving the interests of our customer-ISP relationship. It further brings into suspicion, strong conflicts of interest as I know Comcast itself is involved, at least on a corporate level--with many "content providers."  These content providers should not enjoy a "free pass" to communicate with me through you without actually taking the time to file a legal claim, which is all they'd be entitled to do if they feel they have been harmed. I would argue that if this was there only option; then these empty accusations would strongly decrease in frequency; and perhaps they would go back to ...I don't know, developing content?  It seems I'm not the only person out there (according to Google) that has been getting letters like this from Comcast.
I respect that you need some kind of policy in place but I don't think acting as "mediator" between customers and content providers should be part of that policy--it stinks of conflict of interest and frankly, treads dangerously close to abusing your power as a near-monopoly of broadband internet service in my market.  I would suggest that Comcast take a different approach to this type of issue; essentially only providing user information to a claimant if they take legal steps to obtain it; not sending random people "warnings" that some third party thinks we downloaded a file with no definitive proof of such a claim.
I respectfully request that this "record" that was created of a copyright claim be removed from my account history or at the very least, my statement be on file as well. I have taken all necessary steps to secure access to my residential broadband internet service and feel frankly, that the "reason" for the claim is bogus information in the torrent tracker files that this claimant used to try to ascertain my identity. 
I look forward to the chance to speak with you.
Most Sincerely
(name redacted; if comcast reads these forums; they can tell who posted this)
Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

Comcast is just following the law. DMCA Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act ("OCILLA"), creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright infringement liability, provided they meet specific requirements. They aren't accusing you of anything, just telling you that someone has notified Comcast that you infringed on their rights.

 

If you are 100% sure you or someone in your household didn't download the item, then you'll want to double check that your network is secure and that none of the machines on your network are compromised. Change your network passwords, run multiple malware programs, do a deep scan and or a boot time scan with your anti-virus etc.

Getting legal advice from a cable guy on the internet is probably not in your best interest, if you are deeply concerned about the legal ramifications, you should contact an attorney. Th
is is not legal advice, just information. With that said:


Most ppl simply ignore the notices. It's extremely unlikely that the copyright holder will take any legal action whatsoever.

You can file a counter notification with Comcast's designated agent:

J. Opperman & M. Moleski/DMCA Notifications
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
1800 Bishops Gate Drive
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 U.S.A.
Phone: 888.565.4329
Fax: 856.324.2940
Email: dmca@comcast.net

All counter notifications must satisfy the requirements of Section 512(g)(3) of the U.S. Copyright Act. (You can find a counter notice generator here: http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca/counter512.pdf)


Contributor
JJPDX77
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-18-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

I disagree; they are not REQUIRED to notify me of this third-party claim; they are simply required to either take action when legally forced to or do...surprise! nothing.

 

I am not trolling this forum to advice from anyone in it, I am simply publicizing a letter I've written to their CSA team because I feel their "format" for handling alleged copyright infringement claims is unprofessional and over-reaching.

Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Bronze Star Contributor
Rolo42
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎10-13-2011

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

I don't disagree with you but I'd have to agree that you're shooting the messenger in this case.  Comcast is under more pressure than its customers.  (Guns don't kill people; ISPs don't pirate--but they are treated that way and just like how some want to take away our guns, some want to take away Internet access...baby out with the bathwater)

 

Take it to the RIAA, MPAA, and Congress.

 

In today's climate, be happy you just received an ignorable e-mail versus shutting down or crippling your connection/access (guilty until proven innocent, the DRM mentality).

 

Time to revisit all those '70's movies that depicted a government run by corporations...

 

Edit: and I mean legally revisit those movies, lest I be held culpable for another's illegal activity.... :smileywink:

Contributor
jagr200
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-19-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

Here are a few things.

 

1. Comcast doesn't track your individual downloads.

2. They are required to notify you if a 3rd party is tracking your downloads.

3. If you are worried about it get a program called "littlesnitch" That way nobody can see what you are doing.

4. Nobody is going to "spoof" a tracker with your IP address. It just isn't possible. You downloaded it and you got caught. Get over it.

5. Stop complaining.

Visitor
RVI0627
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-21-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Hello Rolo42, Please thsi is my request to you - in regards to your point # 1 - just for your information, Comcast does monitors every individual access you do & want to know of your whereabouts even when the bill is paid on time - therefore sends out private information - marked with CURRENT RESIDENT. 

 

I think you will agree with me on this - best regards 

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,152
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim


RVI0627 wrote:

just for your information, Comcast does monitors every individual access you do


This is very incorrect.  We do not monitor any internet usage.  We only measure volume of data due to the existing cap.

Just because you recieved a mailer that stated "or current resident", does not mean we are tracking you...

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Contributor
JJPDX77
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-18-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Jagr

 

Responding to this post with an attitude is not really necessary; go flame someone else.  You're absolutely wrong about spoofing and about trackers.  The trackers can be spoofed and using the trackers to find swarm members is no longer 100 percent reliable or even remotely accurate. 

 

This isn't the issue; the issue is -- don't send me ominous "Big Brother" type letters saying "so and so said you downloaded a file, please don't do that!"

 

Here's what I want you to do -- NOTHING.  Or better yet, wait for them to subpoena the information; then give them my address and phone number.  Thats what any other non-corporate, netural  ISP would do.  Don't get involved; don't play Internet police and don't let the  alleged "content owner" hide behind an anonymous message that you are stupidly relaying to me.

 

If they have a problem with something they claim I did and can't legally prove; then let them take it up with directly.  That's all I'm saying.  And I frankly, think that is a perfectly reasonable request. 

Contributor
DeeJayZee
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎10-29-2010

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

Comcast is actually fighting in court to avoid giving out personal information in response to bogus subpoenas sought by "copyright-troll" lawyers -- the modern day equivalent of ambulance-chasers, but a lot more expensive to their victims and society -- and at the same time, giving out the information.  It could just as well withhold giving out the information while its case (along with that of several other ISPs) is pending.  

 

The message it's sending is highly conflicted and indicates that the company hasn't thought this through.  Meanwhile, a lot of Comcast's customers are (a) freaking out and (b) actually being served for trials that are never intended to take place, but only to serve as extortion devices in a clever racket.  This racket enriches mainly the troll attorneys and to some extent, the porn operators whom they solicit as clients for shock value when they hit people over the head with bogus lawsuits.

 

Here's a good article about Comcast's confusion from one legal expert on the defendants' side:

 

"Comcast wins battle against Millenium TGA & Prenda. Subscribers lose." Federal Computer Crimes blog, Robert Z. Cashman, May 29, 2012

 

http://torrentlawyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/comcast-wins-forum-shopping-case-against-millennium-tg...

 

 

 

Connection Expert
EG
Posts: 41,710
Registered: ‎12-24-2003

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

This post was removed because the *name calling* part is a violation of the forum guidelines. I re-posted it with that part removed below.

Connection Expert
EG
Posts: 41,710
Registered: ‎12-24-2003

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

jagr200 wrote:

Here are a few things.

 

1. Comcast doesn't track your individual downloads.

2. They are required to notify you if a 3rd party is tracking your downloads.

3. If you are worried about it get a program called "littlesnitch" That way nobody can see what you are doing.

4. Nobody is going to "spoof" a tracker with your IP address. It just isn't possible. You downloaded it and you got caught. Get over it.

5. Stop complaining.


DeeJayZee wrote;

 

1. We don't know that.  There is a technique called "traffic shaping" that several ISPs have advocated as a way of detecting terrorist activity, child porn (child porn being the ultimate terrorist activity), money-laundering, illegal file-sharing, etc.  More to the point, they're talking about charging differently for different content, which is a more plausible motive for this type of scrutiny.

 

2. We don't know that and how would they know if someone did it, say, via wireless?

 

3. This isn't true.  Little Snitch alerts you to who might be hacking into your system.  it's up to you what to do about it.  Better pay attention, all of the time...!

 

4. This isn't true.  There is plenty of discussion (for example, on Torrent Blast and Ars Technica, of techniques used by unscrupulous "copyright-troll" lawyers and porn operators to discover IPs for use in subpoenaing personal information from ISPs like Comcast (which, admirably, is finally starting to fight back in its customers' behalf).

 

5. Oh yeah, sure, just get hit with one of these claims, pay your $4,000 in hush money, and go about your business.  What are you complaining for?

 

New Visitor
thanks1
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-19-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

So in short, am I to worry about these auto generated emails sent via a no reply address that only gives me contact information utilizing a useless 800 number and by (laughs) a mailbox address? How bout a direct answer... seeing as everything I have spent the last few hours reading contradicts each other.

 

Is there reason to take action or just disregard?

Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-02-2007

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

A couple days ago I received my second bogus Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement; the first arrived 31 days prior.  I don't use BitTorrent or anything else to download copyrighted material.  Until today I kept two networks, one open and the other secure; today I turned off the open network and further restricted the secure network to only serve the MAC addresses of eight known devices in my household.  I'd prefer to keep the one open network for guests, plus I still believe in Freedom and Openness and Community.  If one of my neighbors has been taking advantage of my trusting naïvete and has indeed been downloading movies from my network, would I be in any way liable?

Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim


thewocky wrote:

If one of my neighbors has been taking advantage of my trusting naïvete and has indeed been downloading movies from my network, would I be in any way liable?


Well, that's kind of an unknown. The IP address points at you, but did you commit the crime? What if one of your guests downloads kiddie porn, are you responsible? These are questions the judicial system hasn't worked out yet.

Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-02-2007

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Thankfully there's no kiddie porn (the e-mail alludes to Hollywood movies).  But what if I'm watching a movie in the comfort of my home and somebody points a digitcam through an open window, makes a (probably not-so-great) copy, and redistributes it? Or if I'm playing my tunes in my backyard and some chump records it?  Or if, instead of logging onto an open wi-fi network, the same neighbor spliced the wires outside the house, attached their own splitter, and jumped on to my IP that way?

 

I can see now why Comcast wouldn't want their users extending open networks to just everyone, so I've shut that down.  Still, I'm curious to know what a judge would say.  (Just hoping I don't need to find out first-hand.)

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,152
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

I do remember a case where that actually happened recently, I wasn't able to find a direct link to the story, but there are a couple of articles talking about what happened.  While it looks like the owner wasn't charged, they did have the police/FBI break down their door, and take their electronics looking for evidence.  Not an experience that I would want to have.

Here are the articles I did find.

 

 

http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014867387_wifi25.html

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/buffalo/article369032.ece

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
New Visitor
Friggin-Falcon
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Nick

 

You seem to be knowledgeable and helpful, which is the antithesis of my every Comcast contact to date, unfortunately, and I'd appreciate your input on a related issue.

 

I use P2P (e-mule), and I recently received a spate of these ominous, anonymous complaints, something like a dozen complaints total. The thing is, NONE of the complaints was correct -- I was not downloading, nor had I ever downloaded or shared ANY of the files listed. Indeed, with the exception of one, which was an episode of The Daily Show, not one of the files was anything that I would even want to watch once, let alone waste disk space storing.

 

I know that on P2P, there are people who list files under the wrong names, for reasons that elude me, like "The Little Mermaid" turns out to be porn, and vice-versa, etc., etc. I checked EVERY file in my download queue, to see if, in addition to the file name under which I was downloading it, it also bore one of the names I had been accused of sharing (on e-mule, right-click: "Details"), and there was NO overlap.

 

So I went the other direction. I copied each file name I was accused of sharing, then pasted it into e-mule and searched for it. In each case, I did find that SOMEONE on e-mule was sharing it, but the file hash did not match anything I was downloading. I went a step further -- I found the EXACT file size for each of the files, then compared it to my current and recent-past downloads. In no case did I have a file that matched the exact size of one that I was accused of sharing, and most certainly none of my downloads actually were those files.

 

Now, with the complexity of file sharing, I can understand an occasional mistake by someone trolling for copyright violations. I also realize that I could unintentionally be downloading a copyrighted work, and if someone informs me of that, of course I will stop sharing it immediately. But this sudden batch, all totally incorrect, has to be some kind of screw-up somewhere. Either:

 

1. The accuser is misidentifying my account as the one downloading these files

 

2. The accuser is properly identifying my account, but misidentifying the files themselves.

 

3. Comcast is misconnecting the complaints as being about my account, when in fact they are about someone else's account.

 

4. There is no accuser, and Comcast is simply sending random complaints to try to scare people out of doing anything that consumes their precious bandwidth (i.e., actually USING the service they PAY FOR).

 

If it was an occasional error, I would ignore it, but a dozen e-mail accusations in a week is troubling, especially when I am being falsely accused, I have no idea who is accusing me, I have no way of directly communicating with my accuser, and my accuser obviously is somehow getting it wrong, meaning that there is literally no possible "remedy" on my end. While it seems likely that I would have no liability if my accuser actually took legal action, and indeed I might have a profitable counter-claim, I certainly don't want the FBI or anyone else breaking down my door.

 

(Incidentally, I am the only user of the Internet connection in my home, I do not maintain a wireless network, and there is no physical splice to the Comcast connection either inside my home or at the service panel on the outside wall of my home, so it seems unlikley that anyone else is making direct use of my connection. If they are stealing from or "spoofing" my account, it's happening beyond the boundaries of my property.)

 

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions about this? I hate to be so negative about Comcast's customer service, but they have been so uniformly incompetent, surly, accusatory, and difficult to reach that I'm trying this forum in hopes of getting some useful advice.

 

Thanks!

 

FF

New Visitor
Friggin-Falcon
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

 

I just checked -- 4 more complaints today (Sunday), which I assumes means some automated system is responsible, and obviously it is not working properly, since it continues to list files completely unconnected with my use of file sharing.

 

NONE of these are files I am downloading or sharing, have ever downloaded or shared, or have any interest in downloading or sharing.

 

This amounts to harrassment, and Comcast is enabling it -- whom do I sue?

Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

[ Edited ]

Here is the info again:

 

 

Comcast is just following the law. DMCA Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act ("OCILLA"), creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright infringement liability, provided they meet specific requirements. They aren't accusing you of anything, just telling you that someone has notified Comcast that you infringed on their rights.

Getting legal advice from a cable guy on the internet is probably not in your best interest, if you are deeply concerned about the legal ramifications, you should contact an attorney. This is not legal advice, just information. With that said:

Most ppl simply ignore the notices. It's extremely unlikely that the copyright holder will take any legal action whatsoever.

You can file a counter notification with Comcast's designated agent:

J. Opperman & M. Moleski/DMCA Notifications
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
1800 Bishops Gate Drive
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 U.S.A.
Phone: 888.565.4329
Fax: 856.324.2940
Email: dmca@comcast.net

All counter notifications must satisfy the requirements of Section 512(g)(3) of the U.S. Copyright Act.


New Visitor
Friggin-Falcon
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

 

Thanks, but I read your post before making my own, and while it is helpful and appreciated advice, it doesn't address the underlying technical issue, which is why there is suddenly a flood of complaints that are listing files that I am not now sharing / downloading, and never have done. I cannot believe that I am the only customer facing this problem, and it seems like it would be better to address the underlying flaw in the process than to send me and numerous other users running to lawyers.

 

If the harrassment continues, I certainly shall consult a lawyer, after having formally informed Comcast about its complicity, but I'd rather see if there is a simpler, more direct means of dealing with it,

Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

Comcast has safe harbor under the DMCA, it's not their problem.

New Visitor
JessiAnne87
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎11-12-2012

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

My goodness, if you got a subpoena from Comcast or a company that works through Comcast as a third party, you would be very angry. Comcast just it sending you a reminder, "hey, this was caught on your network as being downloaded. Please stop."

Who cares? Get over it and move on with your life. My fiance gets them and he throws them away because he knows it means nothing. Posting on a customer to customer forum isn't going to be of any help/use to you.

 

And like the employee just said, all they monitor is usage.


Some people think that having a system never have outages is a "perfectly reasonable request". Just sayin'...

 

New Visitor
pmendoza502
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-02-2013

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

http://torrentfreak.com/six-strikes-anti-piracy-outfit-loses-company-status-faces-penalties-130515/

 

this cant be legal anymore if the company that came up with it has lost its status and has to pay fines...

Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-07-2006

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

In MY case when I called, Comcast tried to SELL ME THEIR PROTECTION PACKAGE.

 

It is bogus, and I'm amazed there isn't a class action suit proesecuting Comcast yet. I'm so disgusted. coincidence, that the supposed abuse is tagged to the day we got our roku? I doubt it.

 

This is a scare tactic by Comcast.

New Visitor
TimsGhost
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-17-2014

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

I began receiving these notices as well.  I do not download copyrighted materials, nor has BitTorrent ever been installed on my computer.  None of my friends have ever brought over computers and downloaded anything from my wifi.  Furthermore, my wifi network is not advertised (no name to see) and I have a very strong password for access. 

 

But I found out what the issue is.  I went into my account management on Comcast's website.  There was an additional cable modem registered to my account... which I do not own... and which had data usage for the time period in which the notices stated.

 

When I called Comcast, the person on the phone tried to convince me that the modem I was seeing was one which was sent to me prior to me using my own cable modem; false.  I have only ever used one modem while being a part of Comcast.  Furthermore, how could a cable modem I have not used in months, show data usage for the past two months?

 

The person at Comcast says that they have removed the additional modem from my account and everything is fine.  I asked if I should call the security department which sent the letter; she said no.

 

But I got to thinking after I got off the phone.  Every modem is activiated with Comcast with the unique MAC address and only those devices which are activated by Comcast may receive the service.  So that means that Comcast activated a device that I did not own, on my account, and allowed illegal activity to be performed on that connection, THEN sent ME a "Notice of Action" letter saying that I am in the wrong.  Someone at Comcast hijacked my internet connection and downloaded Game of Thrones (which I have no interest in ever watching... especially now), then I was sent a warning of criminal activity.  I need more follow-up on this, I need to know how something like this can happen. 

 

So everyone, check your account management to see if Comcast is sullying your name by their own criminal acts.

Cable Expert
i-am-nerdburg
Posts: 11,031
Registered: ‎06-27-2009

Re: Bogus Copyright Infringement Claim

This is a placeholder for a post that was moved to a secure location because it violates the forum guidelines (language filter circumvention). http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Forum-Guidelines/Posting-Guidelines/td-p/866289