AT&T and Comcast Agree to Do the RIAA's Dirty Work

Sure, the RIAA has given up on lawsuits, but it's got an even better trick: ISPs will do their dirty work for them. Not surprisingly, AT&T and Comcast stepped right up, says CNET. UPDATED.

Since they both vividly recall past PR debacles when it comes to monitoring or borking your internets—AT&T floated and quickly stopped talking about plans for internet-wide copyright dragnet, and Comcast, well, you know—they're not signing any formal agreements this time around.

But the gist is that the ISP would be a courier for the RIAA's notices, with graduated penalties, like suspension, all the way up to termination. Details left to be worked out, according to CNET's sources, are who would pay to send the takedown notices, and how the ISPs would make up the lost revenue from booting users.

Even though in one sense I'm not surprised AT&T and Comcast would be the first to play ball with the RIAA, on the other hand, it seems weird they'd go through the extra effort to be the RIAA's buttboy, given that they're already implementing aggressive traffic management, with monthly data caps and in Comcast's case, slowdowns for heavy users. Especially since the RIAA really has no major leverage over them in terms of content, like say movie studios or networks, who they depend on for content to sell their services to customers.

Hey, at least it's net neutral, right guys?

Update: Here's the official word from AT&T: "While not commenting directly on the RIAA announcement or speculation, we believe that consumer education is a key component to enabling customers to find and use legal methods to access the content they want, and we have also consistently said that automatic cutoff of our customers is not something we would do." [Cnet]