NPR spoke with Daniel Roth, a senior writer at Wired Magazine, over the file sharing fiasco that Comcast found itself in about a year ago—the one where a Comcast customer discovered that the company was secretly impersonating his computer to interrupt bittorrent transmissions.
Google has assembled a suite of free tools (developed by researchers, not by Google itself) that let you measure things like BitTorrent throttling, upload/download speeds, and last mile snafus. In exchange for “free,” the test data is being made public to enable further study of broadband connections. You might want to bookmark the site for future reference when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with your ISP.
Last week, Walmart sent out emails to its online music store customers letting them know that on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks. Unlike Yahoo, which did the right thing by offering free replacement downloads of unprotected songs when they killed their DRM program, Walmart simply brags about its new unlicensed model and tells you to burn your protected tracks to CD if you really want to listen to them in the future. Good job, Walmart, there goes another betrayed consumer into the welcoming arms of digital piracy. And another. And another…
When we read stories like Tanya Andersen’s and consider the countless others who have been wrongfully targeted by trade groups like the RIAA, it becomes evident that the system by which DMCA takedown notices are issued is very far from perfect. For the uninitiated, DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices are official statements which assert that an artist’s or company’s intellectual rights have been violated (i.e. copyright infringement) and often threaten legal action against an individual. In a study conducted by the University of Washington, researchers proved that this system is seriously flawed, according to the New York Times. In one experiment, the team received takedown notices from the MPAA which accused 3 laserjet printers of downloading the latest Indiana Jones movie and Iron Man. More, inside…
Comcast has defended its BitTorrent blocking by saying it only does it when network congestion is high, but a new study finds that they’re doing it basically all the time. [The Inquirer]
A few months ago Azureus petitioned the FCC, which led to a FCC hearing in February. One of the complaints from the commission was that there is little data available on the scope of BitTorrent throttling, a gap Azureus now tries to fill by collecting data on the prevalence of TCP-resets among ISPs worldwide.
BitTorrent tracking site The Pirate Bay was raided by Swedish Police, and now the site claims they found evidence that the chief of police who called the raid was in the employ of Warner Brothers. [The Pirate Bay]
Trent Reznor’s “free sample” music marketing experiment is a success. [Ars Technica]
Video Of Comcast's Opening Remarks During Net Neutrality Hearing With Seats Stuffed By Company Employees
Here’s a video of Comcast VP David Cohen’s opening remarks during the FCC hearing on Monday, the one where Comcast bused in employees. These employees all wore yellow highlighters to identify themselves to company organizers.
Comcast admitted to paying its employees to sit in at a F.C.C. hearing on net neutrality at the Harvard Law School today, depriving angry protesters from their right to sit in those folding chairs. Despite the venue being filled to over capacity, keeping some people from entering, not everyone inside seemed appreciative of their privilege. One Comcast employee admitted on tape, “I’m just getting paid to hold someone’s seat, I don’t even know what’s going on.” According to SaveTheInternet.com, the Comcast employees, “arrived en masse some 90 minutes before the hearing began and occupied almost every available seat, upon which many promptly fell asleep.” The stacked audience’s behavior was limited to wearing a yellow highlighter, sleeping during the proceedings, and loudly applauding when Comcast VP David Cohen got on the mic.
The self-policing marketplace and blogosphere, combined with vigilant scrutiny from policymakers, provides an ample check on the reasonableness of such [network management] judgments.
So after dissing on the relevance of blogs, Comcast turns around and says that it takes blogs seriously enough that they’re a sufficient proxy for FCC regulation. The lawyer that came up with that one deserve a very big M&M cookie.
Comcast has quietly changed their terms of service following the BitTorrent backlash to protect their ass a bit more. [Ars Technica]
The FCC announced that it will investigate complaints against Comcast for disrupting BitTorrent traffic. Then again, it wasn’t a formal announcement, it was in response to a question posed by Consumer Electronics Association’s CEO Gary Shapiro in an interview before a live audience during the big electronics expo. “Sure, we’re going to investigate and make sure that no consumer is going to be blocked,” is what FCC Chair Kevin “Pretty Boy” Martin said exactly. “Sure” is not a word one uses to make a strong statement. He may have just been playing to the crowd. C’mon, it’s CES, he knew if he said otherwise he could find a bunch of geeks sitting on his car in the parking lot looking to “reformat his harddive,” if you know what I’m saying.
The elite cyber-squad freedom fighters of the The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released findings today that Comcast does indeed meddle with peer-to-peer file sharing. They’re also giving away some software you can install to test your own ISP. The FCC still has yet to respond to complaints and reports of Comcast’s interference.
Net neutrality advocates are gathering momentum to take Comcast to the woodshed for an old fashioned populist beating. Comcast believes that deliberately destroying connections to the popular communications protocol BitTorrent amounts to “reasonable network management,” which the FCC permits. Advocates figure if they can’t ride the net neutrality pony to Congressional passage now, it will forever lie dormant in the stable munching on BitTorrent packet hay.
Advocacy groups and legal scholars filed a network neutrality complaint with the FCC today against Comcast, asking the government to issue a temporary injunction against the cable company that forces it to “stop degrading any applications. Upon deciding the merits, the Commission should issue a permanent injunction ending Comcast’s discrimination.” More importantly, the complaint asks the FCC to classify any blocking of peer-to-peer file sharing as a violation of the agency’s Internet Policy Statement, “four principles issued in 2005 that are supposed to ‘guarantee consumers competition among providers and access to all content, applications and services.'”
Trent: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me.
Are you a Comcast user? Try visiting torrentfreak.com. Let us know if you’re allowed to see the page or if you get an error. A reader told us Comcast is blocking it but we want to check it out first. Update: looks like this is an isolated incident. Carry on.