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AT&T, Comcast 1st to help RIAA snooping?

updated 09:30 am EST, Wed January 28, 2009

ATT and Comcast Help RIAA

Both AT&T and Comcast should be the first Internet providers to give in to the RIAA's monitoring program, according to sources speaking with CNET. Three separate contacts allege that the respective DSL and cable providers have tentatively agreed to forward warnings when the RIAA believes its songs are being shared illegally and would volunteer to punish repeated offenders. These could include user-specific traffic throttling and even suspension or a permanent disconnection after multiple alleged infractions.

Neither AT&T nor Comcast has signed a formal agreement and could still withdraw, the insiders claim. Among the issues still remaining are financial compensation for the lost revenue from customers forced off the network as well the cost responsibilities for warning notices. None of the parties involved have been asked to inspect traffic themselves.

Both of the two companies as well as four other, unnamed providers are said to be worried about being discovered collaborating with the RIAA and may avoid committing to a deal to avoid the negative press and customer defections that would likely follow from the association. The RIAA has hurt its reputation through its previous tactic of collecting information independently and resorting directly to lawsuits, which in multiple instances have resulted in mistaken accusations as well as countering racketeering lawsuits that charge the RIAA with unfairly forcing customers to pay large settlements rather than contest threatened copyright lawsuits in court.

Neither Comcast nor RIAA is willing to comment. AT&T won't either confirm or deny its involvement but maintains that it believes "consumer education" is the solution to thwarting music piracy and that it wouldn't automatically cut off access to its customers.

Most American Internet carriers have until now been hesitant to actively cooperate in enforcing copyrights and often defend themselves with safe harbor, which relieves them from taking responsibility for piracy committed on their networks. France currently implements a "three strikes" system promoted by the RIAA's European equivalent, the IFPI, that imposes a strict escalating punishment system which disconnects users after three distinctly identified violations.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Time to leave Comcast

    even tho, I don't use comcast, but time for people to speak up, and deny the big brother theme that RIAA and Comcast is putting out.

    btw: first.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good reason to DROP THEM!

    Yet another good reason to DROP COMCAST LIKE A PIECE OF .......!

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In Other News

    In other news, AT&T and Comcast are expected to be the first ISPs to be on the receiving end of lawsuits for disconnecting paying customers based on unsubstantiated allegations from an untrusted, Mafia-like 3rd party, according to sources who don't suffer from cranial-rectal inversion.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bye bye COMCAST

    Time to finally make the switch to FIOS and say sayonara to COMCAST and their craptastic customer service.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bad precedent?

    Of course its bad, but does this concept of working with a third-party to stop an activity the third-party does not agree with mean that any third-party can go to the ISPs and ask for help?

    So, the MPAA is next. But after that, do we see the runners of WoW wanting access so they can stop people from running cheats? What about the local deli, who wants to get to people who write bad reviews, claiming slander (or is that libel? Never can remember).

    Can MacNN forum users contact them to stop testudo from posting anymore?

    Oh, sure, now you're starting to think this is a good idea.....

  1. bigpoppa206

    Joined: Dec 1969



    like folks who have something to hide!

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Spoken

    You've spoken like a fool. It's not the piracy issue; it's your civil rights that are being trampled upon. It's interesting that many people just don't value or care about their privacy and personal rights.

    Would like to be under surveillance ALL THE TIME? How about a black cop car parked in front of your house, taking pictures? Why would you worry? You have nothing to hide, right?

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