In an article published last week, TorrentFreak reproduced Comcast's response to a subpoena regarding the copyright troll Prenda Law. Since then, Comcast's agents Cyveillance have sent a series of escalating legal threats to TorrentFreak and its hosting provider, LeaseWeb, asserting copyright over a document that is not copyrightable, and whose reproduction would be Fair Use in any event. TorrentFreak's hosting provider has given them 24 hours to resolve the issue or face shutdown.
Update: Comcast has changed its mind. Here's an email I just received:
Hi Cory - I saw your post and wanted to let you know this notice was sent in error, and we have advised TorrentFreak to disregard it. We apologize for any confusion. Will you update your post with this information? Thanks.
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Network & Operations
One Comcast Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103
“The thing that we would like you to remove from you post is the copy of the subpoena form that contains Comcast subscriber’s information, The rest of the post can stay,” we were told.
While the response is clear, it still doesn’t explain what the actual infringement is. According to our knowledge court records are public domain and can be freely used by reporters, especially when they are the center of a news piece.
When we pointed this out to Cyveillance the company suddenly informed us that Comcast told them to “hold off on working on the removal of the post in question.” Baffled by the situation, and unclear how to proceed we asked for further details. However, everything went silent and several follow-up emails sent by us since Monday afternoon have gone unanswered.
Meanwhile, the situation further deteriorated when we learned that our hosting provider LeaseWeb received the same cease and desist notice. LeaseWeb alerted us to this problem on Tuesday and stated that our IP-address would be blocked if the issue was not resolved within 24 hours.
Copyright Troll Ran Pirate Bay Honeypot, Comcast Confirms [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.