What to do with a Comcast DMCA takedown notice (especially when you are innocent)

Last Monday, waiting in my snail mail box for me was an unassuming letter from your favorite cable provider, and mine, Comcast. Contained in this letter was information pertaining to an alleged torrent download called “Cadillac Records.” I have come to learn that “Cadillac Records” is a movie with Adrien Brody and that their marketing for this movie must have really sucked because with what ever thousands or millions of dollars they used to promote this movie, I have never heard of it – even once. Maybe my head is in the sand. Maybe I spent too much time at work and not watching Oprah. But, whatever the case, Adrian and his film were lost on me.

Now we cheat and cut to the end – after 4 phone calls, three separate employees, and about 1 hour of total hold time, the conclusion was ascertained that the individual(s) who are in possession of my old cable modem, one that was replaced when we move to our current abode, belonged to the offending parties with a love of Adrian Brody, and not our household.

Here is the break down of the calls (paraphrased because writing about mouth breathing tech support with 5 minutes between each sentence is not compelling writing.)…

Call 1…

Tech 1: “After leaving you on hold for 20 minutes, I have discovered that you are the offending party and no mater how much you protest, I want to get off the phone with you because I can’t do my job technically.

Call 2…

aprigliano: “What was the MAC address of the offending cable modem?”

Tech 2: “OO:BE:…”

aprigliano: “Hold on! That is not my current MAC address. I have had this cable modem, and IP number, since the end of October.”

Tech 2: “IP numbers change.”

aprigliano: “MAC addresses don’t change.”

Tech 2: “Yeah. Um. They don’t. Please hold.”

10 minutes later…
Tech 2: “I need to look into this further. Can I call you back?”

I then received a message on Grand Central: “This is ‘Tech 2’ with Comcast Security give me a call back at ‘###-###-####’ regarding your DMCA issue.”

Call 3 – I call back …

aprigliano: “I am returning a call regarding Case number ###########. There were some developments.”

Tech 3 (Texas accent): “Nope I am seeing nothing here. All I can tell you that the copyright holder has no information on you and you should not be downloading illegal files”

aprigliano: “But I am RETURNING a call, let me play you the message I received…”

Tech 3: CLICK…

Call 4 – I call back again…

Tech 1: “Oh, I remember you.”

aprigliano: “I don’t remember you. I received a message from ‘Tech 2.’ Can you put me through to him? “

Tech 2: “Yes, it seems that there are 2 cable modems (MAC addresses) registered in your name.”

aprigliano: “Well I am only paying for one service, not two, so there should only be ONE cable modem under my account.”

Tech 2: “(Laughs) That right.”

aprigliano: “What can we do about this. Is it possible from where you are to disable the other Cable modem.”

Tech 2: “Yes.”

aprigliano: “Would you.”

Tech 2: “Yes.”

aprigliano: “Thank you. I could not ask for anything more.”

Lesson: though I have had the same IP number since October, this is not a defense (at least in their minds, because IP addresses change) against you infringing copyright. Your ONLY defense is your MAC address not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you did actually did something wrong, take the hit, but NEVER ADMIT IT! EVER! This is along the lines of self-incrimination, you are never compelled to do so, even in a court of law. BUT if the MAC address is wrong, and this could be your only defense, YOU DID NOT DO IT. You could not have.

And where the ‘Techs’ may not take this seriously, you NEED to, regardless of how many phone calls it takes. This can come back to bite you in the ass.


  1. I am wondering how this can bite you in the ass, didn’t the tech mention that the copyright holder had no information on you? Comcast will act as a middleman for those fucks but they won’t give your personal info out, at least not at this time… Trash that letter and be a bit more careful where you DL your content from. Downloading scene releases will minimize your risk, make sure to grab the torrent posted first and to read the comments.


  2. I did not do the downloading. There is no reason for them to even have on file anything that says otherwise. And “at least not this time” as you said doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence in Comcast, especially when they can be compelled by a court to release the names of “John Does.”In the end this was a unique situation that was more a hardware tracking problem for them, but, if I did not pursue this, the current owner of my old cable modem could have, and probably would have, continued infringing in my name.


  3. Hang on. He simply disabled the modem? He didn’t reassign it to the correct account? So when the current holder of that modem phones to complain about a connection failure, the next tech will simply re-enable it again, not knowing why it was disabled in the first place.


  4. I asked something to the same effect during the final call. He said there was no other way to figure out who currently is in possession of my old cable modem. Sad, really, if they are a paying customer – it is not their fault.


  5. This seems like a wise move, to get that other MAC address off your plan. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know what a MAC address is.Because Copyright infringement costs are so high, if any MAFIAA company took you to court, even if you were innocent, well I’d probably just pay the settlement fee, even being innocent, because of the lower risk. Apparently lots of people feel the same way, as thousands of these filesharing cases have been settled out of court. After all, it’s probably safer to pay a couple grand to the MAFIAA than be floating face down in the river, financially speaking.


  6. Yeah, over here in the UK we are starting to have very, very similar problems. An outfit called Davenport Lyons are skipping the relatively benign take down notice and going straight to threats of court, unless you pay them ~£600.The problem is, these very scary letters are being sent to a growing number of entirely innocent people who have never even heard of P2P. These letters are sent to you at your home address, after they get your details from your ISP via a court order. Joy. The best bit? When people have written back, asking for the MAC address of the alleged offender they get a reply from Davenport Lyons along the lines of “A MAC address can be easily faked, so we’re not going to supply that”. Yeah, cos an IP is so very reliable at identifying an alleged infringer. More like their “forensic” experts don’t harvest that data at all because they’re *that* sloppy.


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