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Verizon's P2P-loving customers can breathe a collective sigh in relief

Verizon is tied for third place in terms of broadband customer base in the U.S.  As one of the nation's top players it was  shock when a Verizon spokesperson was quoted in a CNET interview as saying that in lieu of a recent campaign of warning letters to customers, cautioning them on the dangers of filesharing, that Verizon supposedly had begun severing filesharers at the request of copyright protection organizations (like the RIAA).

Specifically, CNET writer David Carnoy quoted Verizon spokeswoman Bobbi Henson is quoted as saying, "We've cut some people off.  We do reserve the right to discontinue service. But we don't throttle bandwidth like Comcast was doing. Verizon does not have bandwidth caps."

Ms. Henson personally responded to our story on the topic writing:
This is Bobbi Henson from Verizon with some clarification on this story.
We have had a copyright notice and education program in place for some time now and communicated it to our customers and the public on our Web site back in April 2009. This is not an automatic ‘three strikes’ graduated response program. This program has been effective in reducing instances of repeat notices and has not resulted in the termination of any Verizon customer’s service.

The intent of the program is to educate customers and give them every opportunity to take action to address notices from content owners that their Internet connection may have been used to download or share content in violation of copyright laws. Our goal is to protect our customers’ privacy and due process rights while recognizing the importance of copyright protection and acquiring content legally.

We believe our program strikes a reasonable approach and is working very well.

Now CNET has released a follow-up defending it's writer's original piece.  CNET's Greg Sandoval points out that Verizon essentially agrees with most of the stories' facts except that it's cutting off filesharers via a so-called "graduated response" (such as a "three-strikes" plan).

Despite Ms. Henson's claims that Verizon has cut off no customers, CNET has emails from Ms. Henson where she responded to an inquiry about how many people were cut off, stating, "David, we don't give out these numbers, but I can tell you that they are small. Our impression is that litigation in this area is significantly down and to the extent that we get subpoenas or court orders, they are isolated and not at all widespread. Same goes for disconnections. These are not things we want to do and the purpose of the notification program is to educate customers and give them every opportunity to understand and take action to download legally."

So were customers cut off?  Ultimately for all the he said, she said between Verizon's Henson and CNET's Carnoy, the bottom line is that Verizon is promising not to cut off filesharers.  That's good news for customers as if Verizon does at some point begin cutting people off it may be stuck in the a legal mess (can you say class action suit).  But its bad news for the RIAA, who already has had to drop most of its litigation campaign due to soaring expenses; the incident marks yet another failure by the RIAA to find any ally in the internet service provider business.

Ultimately it appears that Verizon is in the same boat as other telecoms -- it doesn't make sense for them to cut off the large portion of paying customers that are downloading copyrighted works, even if they are doing so perhaps illegitimately.  Such cuts could have adverse impact to both the company's bottom line and its reputation.  So ultimately the RIAA is back to square one in trying to figure out how to deter the pesky and ubiquitous pirates.

DailyTech would like to thank Ms. Henson for contacting us and trying to set the record straight on Verizon's stance on this significant topic.

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Like I said yesterday...
By Lord 666 on 1/22/2010 1:46:59 PM , Rating: 3
The Verizon letter Jason included said it all; they are sending out well worded warning letters like other telecomms do. Nothing about terminations.

Move along folks, nothing to see here.

RE: Like I said yesterday...
By JasonMick on 1/22/2010 2:00:00 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly, my personal guess is the VZN's spokeswoman got carried away in a couple of her comments/things she wrote and perhaps was referring to isolated extreme incidents, but was ambiguous enough to provoke speculation of a broader crackdown.

Either way there was confusion from both sides, but its good news for VZN customers that they're not going to get policed by their ISP.

That said, if you're stupid enough to be filesharing using your real IP in the first place, you're probably not the brightest crayon in box, and you're kinda looking for trouble, so don't be surprised if you eventually find it.

RE: Like I said yesterday...
By koenshaku on 1/22/2010 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Clinton's Speech probably had something to do with this.. I don't even have the option for verizon in the midwest i'd probably drop Comcast if I did...

RE: Like I said yesterday...
By CHAOQIANG on 1/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Like I said yesterday...
By Smartless on 1/22/2010 3:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
DailyTech would like to thank Ms. Henson for contacting us and trying to set the record straight on Verizon's stance on this significant topic.

Wow talk about damage control. I wonder if her coverage map is pissing people off (by coverage I mean the amount of websites she must have to email to set the records straight).

RE: Like I said yesterday...
By SiN on 1/23/2010 8:21:04 AM , Rating: 1
Not really news is it Jason?

I figure Version are policing their customers. They are still trying to "educate" them in what is right and wrong. And they are complying with the RIAA.

Sometimes old laws need reform to keep up to date with the times. Why not report on the factual happenings instead of tit for tat arguments?

RE: Like I said yesterday...
By OKMIJN4455 on 1/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Like I said yesterday...
By OKMIJN4455 on 1/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Like I said yesterday...
By WUMINJUN on 1/24/10, Rating: 0
On Copyright Legislation
By armulyman on 1/23/2010 8:47:45 PM , Rating: 1
NOTE : This comment is not directly related to the article, but is rather a comment on our copyright system as a whole. If you are looking for witty commentary please skip. /NOTE

I've been considering this issue for quite some time, as I'm sure all of you have as well. There are very few possible solutions that I have heard thus far to our copyright conundrum. The few that I know of are:

1. Continue rule by fear campaign, suing individuals into the ground.

2. Three strikes legislation, (really an extension of the rule by fear campaign) banning those who do not comply from the interwebs entirely.

3. Create a tax system whereby artists can be paid, and content can be downloaded freely by all. (As my father once put it "socialize the wide area network")

4. Step up advertising mechanisms and product placement, creating for artists an alternative means of profiting from their works.

5. Abolish copyright entirely, make piracy totally legal, and for-go the notion that any one should be paid for their creative works.

6. Sodomize RIAA's, MPAA's and all other AA's with large retractable batons. (Arguably the best solution proposed thus far)

OBVIOUSLY these solutions all have major drawbacks (Namely we do not yet have the technology to make large enough batons).

Rule by fear is the preferred method of dictators, newfags, oldfags, and Hitlers. We CANNOT have that, monarchy's are bad news.

A tax system would obviously never work because keeping track of that many works of art and their methods and volume of distribution would be nearly impossible.

Finally advertising will never be a strong enough support system for the entire interwebs, it's sort of like the icing on the cake (and we can't make a whole cake out of icing can we?)

SO let me propose a new solution to our problem:

(yes I'm quite aware that somebody somewhere has already thought of this, but I don't see many people discussing it)

The major problem right now for the movie, tv, and pornography industries is Tubes. If you have ever been to or to or to one of the many many pornography tubes out there, then you should know what I'm talking about.

The problem is thusly: the content is all user uploaded so the tube can claim ignorance. The copyright holder can send a cease and desist to the tube but will have to do so for each and every upload of their content, basically making every copyright holder responsible for policing the whole internet.

Options like Netflix streaming and Hulu, are rapidly saturating the market, but there really is no incentive to pay when you can just as easily get it for free.

So what if: we were to pass a new set of laws requiring each and every tube to make public the number of times a particular video has been viewed.

THEN make it so that a copyright holder can send a bill for each viewer to the tube itself. The requirement being that the copyright holder have another location that the particular piece of content can be purchased , and that the bill for each view will not exceed the price of the cheapest location it is available for legal viewing.

ie: Avatar the movie is available for new release viewing for $9 on, has streamed it to 1,000,000 people thus 20th Century Fox has the right to bill for the sum total of $9,000,000, but it CANNOT bill for $9,000,001 because it offered it cheaper on Netflix.

Now this is way too high a cost for ANY tube to sustain. There's no way for Megavideo to shell out that much cash for each new release movie that it exhibits. However, there is now an incentive for to log each and every IP address that viewed this particular video.

Next make it so that the Tubes are allowed to pass the individual cost of $9 on to the ISP for each individual IP address. Then of course the ISP would have the right to bill the individual user.

The end user would have the ultimate responsibility for paying the cost, if it was viewed through a proxy, the proxy owner would have that responsibility.

This would:

Create an incentive for the Movie/TV/Pr0n industries to exhibit new release works online.

Create an incentive for Tubes to more carefully police their users.

Create an incentive for end users to use more legetimate channels to view media

and finally it would create an incentive for the end user to police their individual wifi connections. (Helping to eliminate the infamous "my neighbor was stealing my internets" excuse.)

Would also work on sites such as Rapidshare

The problems with this solution:

Somebody could post a video and charge WAAYY too much for it, and this could be unannounced to the end user.

This still wouldn't eliminate Piracy channels like Torrents and Gneutella.

This would be hard to implement on things like music, as they aren't typically accessed through illegitimate streaming services.

Sorry for the long post.

Please consider this idea and respond with your thoughts.

RE: On Copyright Legislation
By Jalek on 1/23/2010 10:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
You missed another drawback, you'd be charging people full price for a streamed file even if they didn't get a single frame or got 10 seconds of a movie and moved on.

You'd still have a hard time enforcing costs on people with insecure wireless networks. WEP isn't hard to crack, and for $34 you can have a commercial company's cloud app try a few million passwords against WPA in just a few minutes.

By Marlonsm on 1/22/2010 6:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
CNet managed to mess up one of the few articles in which Apple is not mentioned.

It used to be a good site, but it's getting worse.

Where's reader1 when we need him?
By Pirks on 1/23/2010 10:23:03 AM , Rating: 1
Dead Internet is piracy heaven, Apple will prevail and Verizon will create a closed content distribution system that is da next big thin' and will replace dead open platform Internet and PC and what not.

Jee I miss this guy ;)

Cheap online shopping
By sdfasdgdhasdf on 1/30/10, Rating: -1
Cheap online shopping
By fasfdhfd0000 on 1/29/10, Rating: -1
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