Comcast Subscriber Receives DMCA Notice For Downloading Ubuntu

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: 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. Posting to Reddit’s /r/linux sub-Reddit, a forum with more than 656K subscribers, ‘NateNate60’ reported the unthinkable. After downloading an official Ubuntu ISO package (filename ubuntu-20.04.2.0-desktop-amd64.iso) he says he received a notice from Comcast’s Infinity claiming that he’d been reported for copyright infringement.

“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 posted notice reads. NateNate60 wisely redacted the notice to remove the ‘Incident Number’ and the precise time of the alleged infringement to protect his privacy but the clam was reported filed with Comcast on May 24, 2021. “The copyright owner has identified the IP address associated with your Xfinity Internet account at the time as the source of the infringing works,” it continues, adding that NateNate60 should search all of his devices connected to his network and delete the files mentioned in the complaint.

The allegedly infringing content is the 64-bit Ubuntu 20.04.2.0 LTS release but the first big question is whether the file is actually the official release from Canonical. Given that the listed hash value is 4ba4fbf7231a3a660e86892707d25c135533a16a and that matches the hash of the official release, mislabeled or misidentified content (wrong hash, mislabeled file etc) appears to be ruled out. Indeed, the same hash value is listed on Ubuntu’s very own BitTorrent tracker and according to NateNate60, this is where he downloaded the torrent that led to the DMCA notice. It doesn’t get much more official than that. According to the DMCA notice sent by Comcast, the complainant wasn’t Ubuntu/Canonical but an anti-piracy company called OpSec Security, which according to its imprint is based in Germany. Presuming the notice is genuine (albeit sent in error), Comcast needs to be informed that mistakes have been made. The ISP has a repeat infringer policy and given the current hostile environment, terminating users is certainly on the agenda. Indeed, the notice states just that.