Have you Received a
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Comcast Cable
Customer Security Assurance
1800 Bishops Gate Blvd., 3rd Floor East Wing
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Abuse Incident Number: Please contact Comcast Security Assurance at 1-888-565-4329
Report Date/Time: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 12:38:43 -0600
Name
Street
Town, State and ZIP
Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Subscriber:
 

Comcast has received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infrigement of one or more copyrighted works ...

Blah, Blah, Blah ... you probably know the rest.

We have a Sample Notice-of-Action for your reference



When you receive a letter (or e-mail) like this, you are being told that somebody at your location copied something (music, a movie, a game, etc) that is protected by copyright and that in making a copy, you have violated (or infringed upon) the copyright. In other words, the copyright owner is accusing you of piracy, they have complained to Comcast and Comcast is notifying you of that accusation.

When we received our Notice-of-Action from Comcast, we had no idea what the letter was about. Being the responsible types, we did a little research and thought that we would share our findings with you. Please keep in mind that we aren't experts or lawyers - what you'll find on this website is our opinion and interpretation of what we found.

Below you'll find a Quick Explanation, followed by a section about Our Comcast Letter and finally some suggestions in What's the Next Step.

If you would like more detail, we have a Detailed Explanation on the next page. We also have a Glossary with our understanding of the various terms and phrases.

We hope that our website will give you a better understanding of Comcast's Notice-of-Action and what it means to you.

The Quick Explanation

Have you been illegally sharing copyrighted files over the Internet? The Notice-of-Action is a warning that you've been caught by the owner of the copyright (or their agent) and if you don't stop, Comcast will terminate your service. It's my understanding that once you receive this warning, you are expected to delete the specified file and stop the illegal sharing of copyrighted files.

If you continue, it's the copyright owner who would take legal action. Comcast is protecting itself from the litigation by first warning you and then threatening to end your service. This is required by the 'Safe Harbor' provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In doing our research, we saw people who said they knew somebody who knew somebody who had lost their Comcast service, but we never saw anybody who actually said they had lost theirs. It probably happens, but it appears to take more than one or two warnings from Comcast. Actually, we saw several people claiming that they had received six or more letters and still kept their service with Comcast.

How did they detect you? What is the copyright owner claiming? Do you have a wireless router? That requires the longer explanation, which you'll find on the next page.

Are you confident (or reasonably sure) that nobody at your location has done anything illegal and that the Comcast Notice-of-Action is wrong? You might be right.

About Our Comcast Letter

We want to take a moment and talk about our letter - see the Notice-of-Action that we received (we use it for our Sample).

My first reaction was that it might be some kind of 'phishing' attempt (where we would call the number given in the letter and then tricked into something stupid like giving a credit card number for verification). Before we tossed it, we thought that we would check on the Internet and after a little reading, we decided that it was probably real.

In our case, the Comcast letter is very curious. We are absolutely certain that:

  • We have never illegally copied any files - period;
  • We don't have any wireless services which could have been used;
  • Nobody could have hacked into our network - and yes, we're certain of this;
  • We didn't have any visitors during that time;
  • Nor do we have any children that can be blamed.

Most curious of all, we're not even customers of Comcast!

We did have Comcast several years ago, but we were very unhappy with them. As soon as a somebody else offered service in our area (we live on the fringe of most providers), we switched. While we had Comcast, it was limited to a Cable TV package - at that time, Comcast didn't have Broadband/Internet service in our area. It's a real mystery why they could accuse us of copyright infringement and then threaten to terminate our service.

Given the above, we are going to ignore the Comcast Notice-of-Action as nonsense - just another reason not to like or trust them. Quite bluntly, if they can't get the simple things right, especially in a document that could be used in a legal proceeding, then how can anything in their letter be trusted? I would go further and say that if they aren't right about our Notice, then it's as likely that they are wrong about yours.

That's our opinion of how their letter applies to us. Please read the rest of our website and decide for yourself how Comcast's Notice-of-Action applies to you.

What's the Next Step

So what comes next? That depends on how you feel about the whole thing.

  • If this is your first Notice-of-Action from Comcast, consider it a warning. You might have somebody at your location who is downloading illegal copies of videos or games, you might have a neighbor who is getting to the Internet through your unsecured wireless router or Comcast could simply be wrong about your IP Address. Take the Notice-of-Action to heart, review how you deal with the Internet and then I wouldn't bother to do anything else.
  • If you're downloading copyrighted material, you should make sure that you're getting it from somebody who has permission from the copyright holder. While it's easy to say that you should only use reliable sources, it's not easy to be sure of anything found on the Internet. Keep in mind that it's your responsibility to stay legal.
  • If you violated a copyright, then consider the Comcast letter a warning that the copyright holders know who you are and that they have evidence of that infringement. Are the lawyers coming for you? Probably not, unless there's a pattern of behavior that makes it worth their while - nothing is better than a court case that can be used as a precedence for chasing after others. You don't want to be the precedence.
  • While doing the research for the Comcast Notice-of-Action, I saw several places where people claim to have received numerous notices from Comcast without losing their service. I dismiss most of that as empty bragging, but it does appear that it takes more than a few.


 
 
   
 
 
 

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