Your ISP Hates You: They're Probably Working With RIAA

Illustration for article titled Your ISP Hates You: They're Probably Working With RIAA

Remember how the RIAA was getting ISPs to help battle copyright infringers after they gave up lawsuits, and AT&T was all "no comment"? Now AT&T confirms they're working with the RIAA. UPDATED.

AT&T says they're not doing any of the actual spotting—the RIAA is handling that part—they're just "forwarding notices from content providers to our customers" to edumacate them. Cnet's Greg Sandoval reports that a Comcast executive said that they've sent customers two million warning notices about infringement. [A Comcast spokesperson later added that these letters weren't part of any new campaign, see below.]

What happens if you ignore AT&T's notices? Will they disconnect you? Here is their lovely wishy-washy answer that really doesn't say anything at all: "We are not suspending or terminating our customers' service. With that said, we do refer customers to our Acceptable Use Policy, which governs use of our service." Just keep in mind, it's the same AT&T that was plotting a massive, intelligent anti-piracy dragnet that would sweep their entire network for pirated content.


Update: Comcast adds via spokesperson that nothing's changed:

"Comcast, like other major ISPs, forwards notices of alleged infringement that we receive from music, movie, videogame, and other content owners to our customers. This is the same process we've had in place for years - nothing has changed. While we have always supported copyright holders in their efforts to reduce piracy under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and continue to do so, we have no plans to test a so-called 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' policy."

Probably not a distinction they want, but since they're the only major ISP that's not seriously clamping down on bandwidth usage and hanging out with the RIAA at bars—the RIAA's new buddy group reportedly includes AT&T, Comcast and Cox—Verizon still looks like the best ISP around for people moving around less-than-legally shiny material (i.e., everyone on the internet), especially if you get FiOS. [Cnet via CrunchGear]


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What do AT&T and Comcast get out of this deal? They're acting as if the RIAA is some government agency that they are forced to cooperate with. If the ISPs just tell the RIAA to go screw itself and leave them alone then it will become powerless and eventually die of starvation.