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AT&T, Comcast To Join RIAA Team 360

suraj.sun writes "AT&T and Comcast, two of the nation's largest Internet service providers, are expected to be among a group of ISPs that will cooperate with the music industry in battling illegal file sharing, three sources close to the companies told CNET News. The RIAA said last month that it had enlisted the help of ISPs as part of a new antipiracy campaign. The RIAA has declined to identify which ISPs or how many. It's important to note that none of the half dozen or so ISPs involved has signed agreements. But as it stands, AT&T and Comcast are among the companies that have indicated they wish to participate in what the RIAA calls a 'graduated response program.'"
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AT&T, Comcast To Join RIAA Team

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  • Good to know. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:44PM (#26640341) Homepage

    I've been thinking of ditching Comcast for Verizon (the only two broadband options in Philadelphia) - if Verizon is not on board, then I guess that seals the deal!

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:47PM (#26640417) Journal
    I now have almost 200gigs of music. There's only so much I can listen. also, when I want "new" or "more" I just bring my drive over to a friend's house and bingo - a year's worth of downloads in what, 5 minutes?

    LAN parties are even better - more productive and a greater selection.


  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:54PM (#26640531) Homepage

    Given that the RIAA/MPAA create music and movies, and that telecoms are bundling TV channels as well as internet services, and the people producing the content for the TV channels are pretty much all members of the RIAA/MPAA or share their interests in protecting their copyrighted works, it's hardly a surprise that ISPs are willing to cooperate. In fact, I'm surprised more ISPs aren't.

    Those ISPs that are purely providing connectivity and don't also have cable/satellite TV services among their offered products may hold out against the RIAA/MPAA a bit longer, but I don't expect that it'll last. The major players will bundle with content producers, and will comply with assisting in copyright enforcement in order to secure the revenue that their TV packages provide.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:57PM (#26640599) Homepage Journal

    Since we're stuck with ConCast, I'll have to do a lot more P2P if they're going to team with the Rabid Idiot Asshole Industry. I don't share any files the copyright holders don't want shared, but The Station's The Fog will likely be confused by ConCast and the RIAA by a tune by one of their artists by the same name.

    If they try to sue me, I'll have Dave sue THEM for infringing HIS copyright, and I will also sue them for slander.

    This should be fun.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:12PM (#26640841)
    Perhaps I should stop trying to be subtle in my posts and carry a sledgehammer... (yea, I'm new here)

    It's not a bad idea. Subtlety doesn't go over well with some geeks (that whole denser-than-rocks thing and all). One need only look at the number of posts that simply say "wooosh" to back this up.
  • by Yurka ( 468420 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:14PM (#26640885) Homepage

    Oh great. Another batch of "that does it, I am ditching Comcast". Note also that they didn't even have to do anything yet, just put out a press release, and the troublemakers (sharers in this case) are busy playing the Crack Suicide Squad - which is exactly what's required from the point of view of the ISPs. Just get them off your own lawn, and report progress to RIAA. There's always enough lemmings (who don't know and don't care) to pay the bills.

    Now, if the comments were running to the side of "that does it, I'm getting Comcast accounts for everyone and the dog and sharing like it's 1999", that would make more sense as a response. Otherwise, get used to the periodical pronouncements - they don't cost anything and are having at least some effect.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:23PM (#26641063) Homepage

    Comcast is seeking to squash P2P to avoid upgrading and maintaining their bandwidth. 90% of their problems is that they have too small backbone pipes going into headends. If they would run a REAL ISP instead of the half ass job they do they would understand how to do it.

    disclaimer: I used to be a Comcast manager, I know the cable-modem system inside and out. It's one reason why I will never use Comcast as an ISP.

  • by k1e0x ( 1040314 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:30PM (#26641191) Homepage

    That's it. I'm so sick of these companies I'm going to get ClearWire, I don't care if it's slower at least it's independent and not in bed with the Government/RIAA.

    Is there a way to force a City to provide more than one telco and cable provider? It's got to be possible, how is this done, or what is the best way to go about changing this?

  • by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:30PM (#26641193) Homepage
    So if I build four new computers and start to run them constantly for folding, the police are going to come bust down my door thinking I'm growing?
  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:44PM (#26641439)

    Have lots of money.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:59PM (#26641657)

    If they were willing to get off of their behinds simply because of bandwidth problems, then why don't they shut down or at least throttle spambots? I've seen similar numbers to yours for spam bandwidth consumption.

    With spambots all it would take is a throttle and an email and automated phone call to the customer telling them that their computer is infected and that they need to get it checked out to restore full service.

  • Re:Dude... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ubercam ( 1025540 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @02:40PM (#26642207)

    My ex gf's dad built a garage in the middle of winter one year, and in order for the concrete to set properly, he had to run two big electric heaters day and night to keep it warm. The police came with a warrant to search the property for a grow op (alerted by the electricity company for abnormally high power usage), but found a new garage instead. They were a bit embarrassed, but turned their attention towards the fact that he now had 2 garages and too much of his property covered by outbuildings. He said he would knock down the old garage when the new one was all finished, but he lied, it's still there.

    As for grow ops, people get busted here all the time, at least weekly, often more frequently. They've moved into affluent neighbourhoods too, and now the law says home sellers have to disclose whether or not a home was used for a grow op (only within the past year though IIRC), because of all the mold and other problems that come from grow ops. The address list is also published on the police website [].

  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:14PM (#26642689) Journal

    If the phone company started looking for a burst of phone calls to Mexico and informed the Minute Men if there was a spike, people'd be furious.

    That is absolutely correct and more to the point, the story tag 'sneakernet' is the process that will ensure that file sharing never dies, and in fact directly robs the RIAA members of revenue. When you and 25 of your friends make a list of music you like, then each of you buys one new CD and copies it 25 times and passes them around to your CD group, the RIAA members lose directly. This is not a try-before-buy thing like a lot of file sharing is, it's full on loss of CD sales revenue :-)

    Besides making the ISPs culpable in any file sharing, they drive the problem to a place where it can't be detected or stopped. At that point, the RIAA members will have to admit that they aren't making money because all the do is promote crap at extortionate prices.

    This house of cards will fall too, as soon as NYCountryLawyer starts ISPvsThePeople blog and documents all the legal crap that starts happening when ISPs start narcing for the RIAA. Once they lose safe harbor protection via a law suit over P2P it will be interesting to see what other legal trouble they get into. Will they then be liable for voice traffic issues? If someone calls and threatens me and I ask the ISP to block voip calls from that person, will they become liable if they don't? Can I get a court order to force them to? There are literally thousands of issues that can arise if they lose safe harbor status. I kind of look forward to it in a weird sort of way.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:14PM (#26643687)

    The ISPs have to tread carefully here.

    Start accusing customers of illegal downloading and you damn well
    better have undeniable evidence to back it up. The days of the
    courts just giving the RIAA whatever it wants are quickly coming
    to a close.

    I figure the ISPs will play ball in this court until they make a
    mistake or two and get stung by the lawsuit that will follow.
    Unless the RIAA is paying them enough money to absorb the costs
    of inevitable litigation, it will be a very short game indeed.

    It seems to me the RIAA is simply trying to shed its 'bad-guy'
    image by outsourcing the dirty work to the ISPs.

    In fact, I figure the lawsuit will be forthcoming over privacy
    issues once AT&T and Comcast make it official. After all, they
    have to monitor everything downloaded in order to ensure you're
    not doing anything ' questionable '. Once that technology is in
    place, who gets to make the determination of what is questionable ?

    Competing services like VOIP, video on demand, etc. etc. would be
    prime targets if the ISP offers the same services. . .

    Speaking of Comcast. . . .

    I got a chuckle out of a Comcast representative a few days ago
    telling me how amazing the new 50MB speed tier was. I had to
    ask myself:

    " Why would I want to pay for a 50MB tier when Comcast throttles
        my connection the moment I saturate it with a large file ? "

    8MB DL throttled down to 200k is MUCH cheaper than a 50MB DL throttled
    down to 200k.

    In the end though, I'm paying way too much for a 200k connection :D

  • by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:17PM (#26643723)
    Replace "sneakernet" with VPN tunnels to a central datacenter location. Us IT folks are a fairly resourceful bunch. VPN tunnels can be explained away as work connections. Why so much traffic? I do graphics/video design work for a living sir!
  • by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:26PM (#26643879)

    Questions and answers for just plain folks:

    Want to download stuff with far less risk? Get a usenet account from a premium provider. Tunnel past your ISP. Download what you want. Enjoy.

    Want to know what's there? Hit and see. Maybe you'll find what you need and be able to obtain it easily.

    Want to help your ISPs avoid bandwidth problems? Download all you can from their usenet servers.

    Want to risk all sorts of crappy involvement with the RIAA, the legal system, and potentially lose your internet connection? Just install any old p2p software and have at it.

    Questions and answers for ISPs:

    Want to help your business avoid bandwidth problems? Make sure you do a good job of running in-house usenet servers.

    Want to screw yourself and your customers, impress technically unsophisticated observers with your faux commitment to the rule of law, and make everyone's life more difficult? Outsource or drop all usenet service and cooperate with the RIAA.

    Question for Slashdot:

    Why, in the lists above, is the last option the one most often exercised?

  • by Nick Ives ( 317 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:27PM (#26643907)

    That decision against thermal-imaging cameras is quite silly, wouldn't that mean cops would need a warrant to look through your window? It's all just radiation, be it light or infra-red. I know the decision has all sorts of silly language about how the tech isn't generally available but still, passive imaging should always be OK.

    Not that I support prohibition or anything.

  • Parent is correct (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:37PM (#26644049) Homepage

    From the DMCA Safe Harbor Requirements []

    • not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing (512(c)(1)(A)(1)).
    • not be aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent (512(c)(1)(A)(2)).
    • upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, must act expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material. (512(c)(1)(A)(2) and 512(c)(1)(C))
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @08:13PM (#26647253)

    Nono, that's the first A.

    "Recording Industry Assholes of America."


    Here's a Letterman-style Top Ten list (feel free to come up with more):

    10. Reprehensible In All Activites

    9. Reproduction Is An Abomination

    8. Rotten Industry Attacks All

    7. Rats Infesting American Artistry

    6. Recording Industry Artistic Abuse

    5. Rabid Industry Attack Animals

    4. Ripping Is Anti American

    3. Ripping Indies An Asshole

    2. Reducing Innovation And Achievement

    And the number one answer:

    1. Racketeering Is An Asset

  • Re:Dude... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @09:04PM (#26647839) Journal

    The power companies notice when the power meter readings don't change month to month at a particular residence and the meter readers see lights on. Alarms can be set on the PDA/reader. The usage drain they can't identify is mostly written off to line losses.

    Many power companies are currently investigating (some already investing) in "smart metering" that gives more data points per day per meter and allows remote meter reading. This may make hiding usage a little more difficult as anomalous profiles might be easier to spot.

    As an aside, until remote reading is in place the most favored characteristic of portable reading devices is whether they're robust enough to help fend off a dog attack. (I have a background in E&U and have witnessed that criterion making the difference in a large purchase.)

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.