Comcast Pays $16M USD to Settle P2P Throttling Suit, But Won't Admit Wrongdoing
December 24, 2009 10:00 AM
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You may be entitled to $16 if you are a Comcast customer whose traffic was throttled
Over two years ago, in October 2007, Comcast was
caught slowing down the connections
of customers who were using popular P2P programs like Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols. Comcast didn't admit, at first, that it was doing this, but when it finally acknowledged the practice it argued that filesharers put an unequal strain on its network and it had every right to throttle their connections.
It wasn't long before the company was slapped with several
class action lawsuits
. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission also
opened an investigation
into the internet service provider's "data discrimination". Comcast continued to defend its practices both in court and
to the FCC
Now Comcast has at last given up one of those court battle and
agreed to settle
to the tune of $16M USD payout. Unsurprisingly, despite essentially losing the suit, Comcast won't say it did anything wrong -- it says it has every right to "manage" its traffic and says the settlement was because it wanted to "avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose."
Nonetheless, the good news is that Comcast subscribers who "live in the United States or its Territories, have a current or former Comcast High-Speed Internet account, and either used or attempted to use Comcast service to use the Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols at any time from April 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008; and/or Lotus Notes to send emails any time from March 26, 2007 to October 3, 2007" are entitled to a $16 piece of the settlement pie. The settlement should cover about a bit less than a million customers, the estimated size of the class. While that may be a pittance, consumers who feel they were wronged should relish the chance to nickel and dime Comcast.
There are several other class action lawsuits that are still ongoing, surrounding the data discrimination. They accuse Comcast of violating its own Terms of Service and breaking consumer protection laws by advertising its network as fast.
The settlement site can be found
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12/24/2009 2:29:59 PM
Lawsuits aren't about a crime. Lawsuits are civil complaints regarding damages. They seek a court judgement in most cases. That court will decide a fault and award accordingly.
The process of the lawsuit, the litigation, is to determine whether or not someone was wronged and to find a judgment based upon the level of wrong doing.
In order to spare a civil trial, in which all skeletons are exposed to the public, and avoid any embarrassment most will seek a settlement instead.
So a settlement does not admit to any wrong doing. It just drops the civil case and awards the plaintiff with whatever makes them happy.
If there was any sort of crime committed then it wouldn't really be in the hands of the plaintiff to pursue charges. It would be in a criminal court and handled by the DA.
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