Klaus Zimmermann's Corner

"We caught you 'Pirating' Linux!" is more than a bad joke.

Yup, you read that right. It looks like a Comcast subscriber from Reddit has received a warning from his ISP for doing what's perhaps the impossible: pirating Ubuntu 20.04.

DMCA copyright infringement notice from Comcast submitted to a user who torrented Ubuntu 20.04

There are so many things wrong with this situation that it's almost hilarious - except that for the dude the consequences are very real and not a laughing matter at all. Let's see:

a screenshot of canonical's License of Ubuntu, showing clearly that you can redistribute it.
Ubuntu's own license states that all the software composing it must be redistributable without royalty payment.

At this point, there are also some counterpoints that need to be weighed in: for example, some components in Ubuntu have a not-so-clear licensing terms, and Canonical itself holds trademark ownership on some things like the Ubuntu name and Logo, but I would be extremely surprised and disgusted if they themselves were the ones to raise this ludicrous objection.

A larger point of concern in this case is whether the ISP is banning the use of the BitTorrent protocol itself. That would qualify as some sort of censorship in my book, and would be the root for a much larger cause of concern for projects that have limited hosting and bandwidth availability, and rely on peer-to-peer file sharing to make their work freely available to end users - like lots of Linux distros. And given that Comcast was one of the cheerleaders for the end of Net Neutrality in the US, this would not exactly surprise me.

Luckily, a lot of people already apparently reached out to the guy and offered some suggestions of whom to look further for legal counseling. I hope he can mend the situation and let his ISP know that he knows his rights alongside the EFF and other organs that fight for user freedom.

And as for OpSec Security (presumably the ones who detected the "infringement"), good job I guess? The world really must be a safer and better place with you spending time and effort snooping and harassing people who just want to share files in the Internet. And hey, if not the world, at least the tycoon clients who pay pieces of shit like you are better off, right?

What are other bizarre ISP bullshit stories that you've heard or experienced yourself? Let me know on Mastodon!

Further reading:

This post is number #17 of my #100DaysToOffload project. Follow my progress through Mastodon!

Last updated on 05/26/21