Comcast wins. Subpoenas quashed

Posted: June 20, 2012 by SJD in Prenda
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This spring Comcast, to our pleasant surprise, started consistently refusing to hand over names, phone numbers and addresses of its customers, accused of copyright infringement, to the infamous copyright troll Prenda Law (John Steele). Prenda, formally represented by Paul A. Duffy, sued Comcast, trying to wrestle ISP into compliance with subpoenas.

A week ago TorrentFreak wrote a comprehensive article about this: “Comcast Protests “Shake Down” of Alleged BitTorrent Pirates.” This article ends with the following paragraph:

Whatever the outcome, Comcast’s protest is part of a growing trend in which Internet providers object to handing over subscriber data in mass-BitTorrent cases. Previously, Verizon did the same, successfully arguing that it has an obligation to protect the privacy of its customers.

I’m happy to report that the outcome is good: two days after TorretFreak’s article, judge Gary Feinerman of Chicago quashed four subpoenas and closed the case:

 

Further reading: Comcast crushes porn owner’s “shakedown” of subscribers by Jeff John Roberts (PaidContent). In addition, I recommend reading comments to the TorrentFreak’s article mentioned above.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m pretty sure I remember John Steele bragging about how he was teaching the ISPs a lesson in the law.

    Too bad he doesn’t come out and make a fool of himself anymore, that was one of my favorite things about reading this site.

  2. Raul says:

    Having yesterday reported to Verizon that my internet was out at their end and receiving a text on my phone that access will be restored by 6-27 and to be sure to check the progress at verizon.com/repair (?!) (currently on back up air card) it is refreshing to see the ISPs starting to stand up for their customers. Too bad Pirate Hunter sprained his knee kicking ISP ass elsewhere and not where it counts the most (for his lousy enterprise, that is).

  3. Skruuabll says:

    Anyone who has had their info turned over to a Troll should, if feasible, change their service to Comcast.

    Comcast is not available to me in my area, but did change providers. My decision was accompanied by a letter to the CEO and General Counsel detailing why, after ten years, I’d cancelled my service and moved to another provider at the same price.

    I’ve never been a fan of Comcast, but they should be rewarded for standing up on behalf of their customers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Comcast IS my ISP and they did turn over my info to Duffy last year, no questions asked. Thanks to them I’ve still got Lutz making a nest in my voicemail box, post-dismissal. This redeems them only one TINY TINY bit for the thousands of people they’ve subjected to continued harassment.

    • CTVic says:

      Nah. Comcast isn’t an overnight saint because of this. They just hit the inevitable “last straw” a little earlier than the other ISPs, probably because they have such an enormous customer base from sea-to-shining-sea.
      They just got to their five-hundred-thousandth customer lookup and said to themselves “Yaknow what guys, fuck this. Why are we paying our IT staff weekend-time-and-a-half to do all this data mining, when it’s these jackhole lawyers making the big bucks off of our hard work? They’re not even bothering to take any of these bandwidth-eating pricks to court…”

      no

      If you want to switch to a different ISP for their copyright troll “nobility” (or at least the appearance of copyright troll nobility), go for one of the ones that wasn’t selling out their customers wholesale from the beginning.

      Fuck me if I’m wrong, but I think Clearwire & Time Warner Cable are the 2 guys who have been mooning the Trollawyers from day one.

      But then again, that would depend on there actually being a CHOICE of Internet Service Providers in your area. If you’re like me, or like 99.9% of the rest of this great country, you’re given the choice of a Coaxial turd in one hand, or Twisted Pair vomit in the other. For all the great technology in our Jetsons Hovercar world of 2012, we’ve all still got the same bullshit copper wire that’s been hanging around for the last hundred years.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with everyone else saying Comcast isn’t an overnight saint on this. They couldn’t have cared less until it started hurting their bottom line. I’m still considering leaving Comcast because of their total lack of resistance to the trolls in the many cases in my state.

  4. Beth says:

    Quick question. I am currently involved in the lightspeed media case and I have comcast. I submitted a motion to quash, because I did nothing. What happens now?

    • CTVic says:

      Well, this AF Holdings case is probably different than your Lightspeed Media case. Cross your fingers, and hope that Comcast hasn’t already given up your identity… and cross the fingers on your other hand that if they haven’t, they continue to not give up your identity.

      But stop to think about it a minute …

      Even if Comcast *DOES* give up the keys to your kingdom, what does that mean for you? That you’ll be getting some nasty letters in the mail and calls on the phone? So what? You’ll still be one of the million-or-so that isn’t getting sued on bullshit charges that they can’t prove. Bee. Eff. Dee.

      Actually, it would almost be a shame to not get any letters from the Trollawyers, because when push comes to shove, they really are quite pretty.

  5. Sloop John D says:

    Comcast almost beings to redeem itself. Almost. Before you think that Comcast is interested in you or the does…they aren’t. This is a bottom line thing. Lawyers are expensive, and the fact that they keep getting these subpoenas is costing them lots of money. They’re fed up with having to reply these stupid trolls.
    That being said, I hope other ISPs look at Comcast and seize upon this example of how to fight back.

  6. Ron Mexico says:

    Sounds like this specifically applies only to the bitTorrent case with AF Holdings and not the Illinois LMC case, correct?

  7. anon says:

    THE ILLINOIS CASE

    A copy of The Order filed in St Clair County for case No. 11 L 683 dated April 12, 2012 that I received from Comcast where Judge LeChien denied all pending motions to quash subpoenas filed by the ISPs stated that by agreement between plaintiff & Comcast, Comcast had to produce 80% of it’s compliance on or before June 12, 2012 with final compliance to be completed by June 26, 2012.
    An explanation as to why alot of Illinois Doe’s have not been contacted yet could be that although, your deadline has passed well over a month ago(the situation I am in), that your info could be included in the remaining 20% that they have not turned over yet that still has a June 26, 2012 final compliance deadline. I hope that like the bittorrent cases, Comcast has been trying to take a stance behind the scenes by refusing to comply in this too-the PW Hacking Case. I tried calling the Comcast Legal Response Center in Moorestown NJ @ 1-866-947-8572 to try to get the latest info, but couldn’t get a human being on the phone. Just kept bouncing around from recorded message to recorded message & when I finally left a message for a call back-never received one. Their customer service for their legal dept seems to be just as efficient & helpful to their customers as their Cable Tv & Internet Service-NONEXISTENT!! Just forget to pay your bill one month & see how fast they’ll cal you!! Does anyone else know of another way to contact their Legal Dept to get the latest info to see if Comcast attempted to appeal Judge LeChien’s MTQ denial back in April, 2012??

    • Ron Mexico says:

      I had an attorney file an MTQ on my behalf so regardless of what Comcast ends up doing, i’m covered on that front

  8. [...] arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in question. This post is from the News Bits [...]

  9. [...] arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in [...]

    • CTVic says:

      I gotta say that I *love* the fact that Prenda, John Steele, Paul Duffy, etc, etc, etc… are hereby officially known in media circles as “Shakedown Porn Lawyers”. That just has such a nice ring to it. Shakedown porn lawyers.
      Say it out loud once. It just rolls off the tongue.
      Shakedown.
      Porn.
      Lawyers.
      ooohhhooohhhooohhh … kinda gives me chills, it feels so good to say.

      Yo, SJD! What do you say you change your site to fightshakedownpornlawyers.com? Or is your brand a little too established for fighting copyright trolls?

    • Anonymous says:

      Essentially a re-post of what SJD linked above from PaidContent.com in the original post of this thread, BUT it goes to show that mass consumer websites/publications are taking notice of this shitty business model and thus find the story interesting enough to site, repost, comment, and SPREAD THE WORD!

      Question to all: Does this Comcast victory signify what could be the beginning of the end to this business model, or is it a mere bump in the road?

  10. [...] arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in [...]

  11. [...] arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in question. Auto-Generated Related [...]

    • anon says:

      TO: Before It’s News Reporter Militant Libertariarian:

      Now that Comcast was successful in bringing their MTQ protest before a federal court judge in Illinois for the Bit Torrent Case do you have any info or knowledge if they are or will try to do the same in the federal court of Illinois for the Password Hacking Case-11-IL-683, where Judge LeChien(State Court) denied their MTQ back in April. It seems like their successful argument that was presented to the federal judge on behalf of the BitTorrent Doe’s is an identical argument & would work for the 6500 PW Hacking Doe’s too!! In your reporting travels, do you have a contact @ Comcast or the Comcast Legal Dept in Moorsetown,NJ (1-866-947-8572) that could shed some light on the situation, which would be greatly appreciated by this site & the 6500 PW Hacking Doe’s!! Thanks in Advance!!

      • PeckerHead says:

        I don’t think Comcast cares if ZDoes info gets out. Everything comes down to money. If it is in their financial interests then they will go with it, period. But anyway, I think the horse already got let out of the barn. I dont understand why everyone thinks Comcast is such a great entity for what they did. Case history shows they handed Does info over plentiful many a time in the past without so much as a whimper. Until internet providers proliferate to the point you can actually choose your service, they sort of call the shots and tell you what is what. If you are going to rely on your ISP to save you then your a gonner. Assume they aint gonna help you and that your info is already in the hands of those biological mishaps.

  12. [...] arguments were successful because the judge quashed the subpoenas for the Comcast subscribers and dismissed the cases in [...]

  13. DoeDoeBird says:

    I just received a letter from comcast saying they received a subpeona from AF holdings. It was dated about two weeks ago. Anyone know if it’s safe to just ignore it and see what happens? Or should I not rely on comcast? Its not part of these current Does that just got defended. It’s from the Court of Illinois and I’m in California.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t rely on Comcast to step up to the plate. They seem to be selective as to where they jump in. Review the docket on pacer or on archive.org (RECAP) to see if anyone else has made any filings in the case that will help you know what steps to take.Whatever you do. DONT TALK TO THE TROLLS!

  14. anon says:

    Porn copyright troll-PRENDA LAW- sues AT&T and Comcast, says they side with pirates!!

    Objecting to subpoenas makes ISPs accessories to infringement, says law firm!!

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/porn-copyright-troll-sues-att-and-comcast-says-they-side-with-pirates/

  15. CenturyMedia(1-of-944) says:

    I’m a John Doe (1 of 944) in the Century Media case filed June 25th in New Jersey. I received a letter from COMCAST a few days ago regarding the subpoena from Troll McDaniel requesting contact information for the Does.

    The letter said contact information will be handed over October 1st.

    Is there a still a chance COMCAST will say quashes the request, or the fact that I got the letter means it is going to happen for sure?

    • Raul says:

      It’s going to happen unless you or your attorney make a motion to,try to prevent it from happening.

      • CenturyMedia(1-of-944) says:

        Thanks Raul. I appreciate your response and all the help you provide all of us. I listened to you on Stupid America so I feel somewhat prepared for what’s going to happen over the next few months.

        How does the jurisdiction work in cases like these? I ask because I do not live in NJ (where the suit is being filed)?

        • Raul says:

          That’s typical of these old school massive troll lawsuits, all they are looking for is your personal info so they can hassle you regardless of whether or not the court has personal jurisdiction over you. The time to bring up this issue is now if you do not want your personal info released and dietrolldie.com has some motion templates which present this issue or, if in your budget, hire an attorney.

        • Anonymous says:

          I too am a vicim to the century media trolls. What happens if I just ignore these nasty calls and letters?

  16. […] the company is actually the good guy:  earlier this year, the internet giant successfully quashed subpoenas sought by the law firm as part of its extortion […]

  17. […] com­pany is actu­ally the good guy: Ear­lier this year, the inter­net giant suc­cess­fully quashed sub­poe­nas sought by the law firm as part of its extor­tion […]

  18. […] situation is ironic because Comcast, in the court case, has occupied the role of good guy — protecting subscribers from what appeared to be a shakedown racket run by a law firm. […]

  19. […] sit­u­a­tion is ironic because Com­cast, in the court case, has occu­pied the role of good guy — pro­tect­ing sub­scribers from what appeared to be a shake­down racket run by a law firm. […]

  20. […] cough up personally identified information entrusted to them by their customers. In the past ISPs stood up for what is right (although on rather rare occasions), it is not clear if they will seriously fight […]

  21. […] blizzard of subpoenas from the copyright trolls and cannot object to all of them. Nonetheless, ISPs did fight for their customers and for their reputation in the past. The performance of their attorneys in AF […]

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