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Californian sues Comcast over BitTorrent throttling

I demand to have my mind blown

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With US internet service megaladon Comcast facing intense scrutiny over limiting speeds of customers using peer-to-peer technology such as BitTorrent, it was a question of when - not if - someone from the state of California would sue.

Showing unprecedented litigious restraint, it took until last Tuesday for such a lawsuit to make its way to the hallowed halls of the California Superior Court.

Resident Jon Hart has stepped to the plate alleging Comcast's secret use of bandwidth throttling technology violates federal computer fraud laws, user contracts, and anti-fraud advertising statues.

He also seeks to certify the lawsuit as a class action, and to force Comcast to pay damages to himself and all Comcast internet subscribers in California.

The complaint begins that Comcast has forsaken its advertised affirmations of "lightning fast" and "mind-blowing" speeds, as well as "unfettered access to all the internet has to offer".

Hart's mind was assuredly not blown - oh no - in fact, he alleges Comcast's limitation on peer-to-peer speeds constitutes a breach of contract as well as false and misleading advertising.

The filing asserts that Hart upgraded his internet service to Comcast's high-speed internet Performance Plus package in September 2007 to gain faster speeds specifically for the blocked applications in question. In the subscriber agreement, which he says makes up 22 pages of single-spaced text (with only 10-15 lines visible on the scroll box at one time), none of the terms stated that Comcast would impede or limit the blocked applications.

The result of the throttling, according to the complaint, is the loss of computer use and internet service.

"Defendants deceive consumers into purchasing the service in the mistaken belief that they will be able to utilize the service for use of the blocked applications, while actively limiting and/or blocking such applications. Defendents' scheme was and is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, and/or substantially injurious to consumers."

Hart seeks for Comcast to pay restitution to restore all funds acquired by the means the court may find unlawful, plus pre- and post-judgement interest. He also asks for damages associated with any out-of-pocket costs associated with replacing the service.

A PDF of the lawsuit can be downloaded here. ®

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