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Comcast, Cox join AT&T in RIAA piracy enforcement

updated 04:15 pm EDT, Wed March 25, 2009

Comcast, Cox partner RIAA

Following today's earlier news of AT&T issuing notices to subscribers on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America who are allegedly involved in illegal file sharing, Comcast and Cox have announced they too are informing Internet users of any potential illegal activities. At the same Leadership Music Digital Summit where AT&T broke its news, Comcast senior VP Joe Waz said the provider has issued two million notices to its clients. Sources at the event said provider Cox is also actively partnering with RIAA on informing and discouraging its customers of their illegal activities.

Back in December, RIAA announced it would end its practice of suing suspected Internet pirates, partly because there was the issue of identifying a person responsible for it. The same is true in this case, as it is possible subscribers' Internet accounts are being hacked or accessed by subscribers' guests, kids or somebody else in the house.

While the content of the notifications issued by Cox or Comcast is unknown, an AT&T representative says the provider sends its own letter to customers in addition to one written by RIAA. In it, it encourages subscribers to be more aware of the security of their Internet connection and control who accesses it.

The music industry is calling for ISPs to help them police illegal file sharers, arguing that the providers profit from their clients' illegal activity. RIAA's strategy is a progressive one, with the first step being the cease and desist letter, while repeat offenders will be punished, likely in the form of suspension or termination of service. So far, none of the involved ISPs have threatened to cut off or otherwise disrupt service. [via CNET]

by MacNN Staff



  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well, I needed to change providers anyway. I am curious how they can confirm that there is actual ILLEGAL filesharing going on before they send the "cease and desist" orders. I think if I were not doing anything illegal and got such a notice I would find a new company. If all the providers in my area were to get involved I would just take my laptop to the local Panera whenever I needed to use the internet...and I can get a coffee as well.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let the lawsuits begin. I think ISPs are biting off more than they can chew.

  1. LEStudios

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't Even Worry About it

    I say that because if it come down to it. If these ISP have more than 40% users I doubt the will cut off 40% on the sake of RIAA because one RIAA isn't paying ISP nothing or giving any compensation. These announcements are just to look good as if they being supportive but having no intentions of follow through with it. Like when you say you do anything for your best friend but jump off a cliff with them really isn't one of them!

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: don't even worry

    That one way to look at it. I personally think it is the wrong way to think about it, but...

    What they are doing is notifying users that there is a problem. If you are a reasonable person that may be engaging in that activity described, or think it is possible someone using your machine or network could be, then you take steps to rectify the situation.

    If you've examined the situation and they are in error, let them know officially.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Internet service is not a right. Thus a company has the right to accept or reject customers as they see fit, just like a bar can refuse service.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Don't even worry ....


    Actually I think the RIAA is paying ATT and others a handsome fee for doing this. You can't be that naive. Are you saying that ATT is going to implement all this infrastructure as a gesture of goodwill for the RIAA.

    My hunch is that the RIAA is paying for all the Infrastructure, and they will pay a portion or all of the lost revenue for suspended subscribers.

    ATT wouldn't do it if there was no money in it.

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