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Comcast Sends Copyright Notice to a User for Downloading Ubuntu ISO via Torrent

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If you do not use torrent files to download a copyrighted material, you may have never received a DMCA notice.

However, what if you receive a copyright infringement notice from your Internet Service Provider for downloading free software?

Xfinity, an internet service company by Comast has managed to do just that. A subscriber received a DMCA notice for downloading Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS ISO file.

Wait, what? Yes, you heard it right. Let us look at what it is all about.

Read more

Also: Design and Web team summary – 26 May 2021

Comcast Subscriber Receives DMCA Notice for Downloading Ubuntu

  • Comcast Subscriber Receives DMCA Notice for Downloading Ubuntu

    Every day, people who download and share pirated content receive DMCA notices via their ISPs, warning them to cease and desist their infringing behavior. While the majority of these notices are accurate, one Ubuntu user says he has just been targeted by an anti-piracy company alleging that by torrenting an OS ISO released by Ubuntu itself, he breached copyright law.

American ISP Sent Customer a DMCA for Downloadin Ubuntu

  • American ISP Sent Customer a DMCA for Downloadin Ubuntu - OMG! Ubuntu!

    Yet I am fairly certain that you can’t get a DMCA takedown from your ISP for downloading an Ubuntu .iso.

    But that’s exactly what someone in the US got from their ISP Xfinity, a Comcast subsidiary recently.

    And I’m …speechless.

    Torrenting Ubuntu is not only an a-okay thing to do, but it’s something that the people who make Ubuntu (and own the Ubuntu copyright) actively encourage.

    Heck, the Ubuntu website even provides torrent download links for people to use.

    “We have received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works made on or over your Xfinity Internet service,” the letter received reads.

Punished for downloading Ubuntu via torrent

  • Punished for downloading Ubuntu via torrent

    Recently a United States man who uses the services of popular internet service provider Comcast got the shock of his life. He received an email from Comcast telling him they knew the man had been using his internet connection to illegally download copyrighted content. Specifically, the man was accused of illegally downloading a copy of the Ubuntu Operating system in ISO format.


    This is a cheap and easy way to protect your copyrighted work. It will not be able to stop all cases of infringement but it should be enough to make it difficult for those who are profiting from your work to do so openly and with such ease. Often though, the artists and creators usually lack the skills and knowledge to use such tools and so it is common practice on the internet to pawn off this task to third party specialists.

    This is where problems crop up because often these third parties struggle to differentiate between legitimate and illegal use of copyrighted works. Not so long ago Techzim itself discovered that it had been accused by Udemy of pirating its works. The bots employed by representatives of Udemy happened upon our articles on Udemy and instantly flagged the content as infringement. Never mind the fact that this was actually material promoting the official Udemy site itself.

Downloading Ubuntu via BitTorrent gets Comcast customer a DMCA

  • Downloading Ubuntu via BitTorrent gets Comcast customer a DMCA warning

    This week, Redditor u/NateNate60 got a nasty surprise in his inbox—a DMCA infringement warning from his ISP, Comcast Xfinity. The notice warned him that Comcast had "received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works."

    The strange thing about this warning was the "infringed work" in question: Ubuntu 20.04, which is free to redistribute by any means desired. Adding insult to injury, the hash listed on the notice is the same one associated with Canonical's own torrent for Ubuntu 20.04.2—u/NateNate60 was getting dinged for torrenting an unmodified copy of an open source operating system.


    Ars asked OpSecSecurity to expand on its incontrovertible evidence, but we received no further reply. It took a little longer to get an answer from Comcast. The representative we spoke to was aware of the issue, by way of u/NateNate60's original Reddit post. Unfortunately, the screenshot u/NateNate60 took was heavily redacted—too heavily redacted for Comcast to easily look up the incident.

    We asked Comcast to search for any DMCA warnings sent associated with the hash listed as "Infringing Work" instead—if possible, this would get us closer to the bottom of the story one way or another. Any such warning would either be a bogus takedown for downloading Ubuntu or would demonstrate that a (very unlikely) hash collision had taken place and that the Ubuntu torrent shared a hash with a torrent for something unrelated.

    Comcast's team found no evidence of sending a DMCA warning associated with the hash in question—but the search effort was seriously hampered by the lack of an associated case number.

OpSec Says DMCA Notice System Was "Spoofed"

  • OpSec Says DMCA Notice System Was "Spoofed" To Target Ubuntu Download

    An anti-piracy company cited as the sender of a DMCA notice targeting an entirely legal copy of Ubuntu says that its notice sending system was spoofed. The notice was reportedly sent via Comcast to warn a Reddit user that he'd breached copyright law but the explanation from OpSec Security only raises even more questions as to how something like this could possibly happen.

Comcast sends DMCA threats to a subscriber for downloading...

  • Comcast sends DMCA threats to a subscriber for downloading Ubuntu GNU/Linux

    I’m a bit late on this one, but here it is.

    The US ISP Comcast, or as I call them, Comcrap (and yes, I’m a subscriber, because they are the only ISP option in my area due to government sanctioned monopoly), sent a subscriber a DMCA threat for having downloaded the Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. For those who may be unaware, Canonical, the company that produces Ubuntu, encourages people to share as many copies as they want to.

    That’s also the terms of the licenses under which the OS components themselves are licensed, which is why Canonical can do this.

    The only time that Canonical has sent anyone a DMCA notice that I am aware of, was that time that the Motion Picture Association of America used Xubuntu to create a spyware program that universities could run that would report students directly to the MPAA if they downloaded a movie.

    Ironically, the MPAA violated the GNU GPL and other licenses in the process, effectively managing to commit piracy, and when they didn’t respond to the DMCA letter, their hosting company stepped in and took it down. (Sony also violated the LGPL license of LAME in their “XCP” Windows rootkit malware in 2005.)

Comcast's BOGUS DMCA against Ubuntu ISOs

  • Comcast's BOGUS DMCA against Ubuntu ISOs

    It's unclear here where something went wrong... but boy did something *actually go wrong.* There is a long and storied history of Linux ISOs being legally distributed via BitTorrent by the copyright holder.

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