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Comcast has settled a lawsuit over throttling filing sharing sites known as “peer-to-peer” sites. It will cost Comcast $16 million, although individual class members will have to drop six zeros from that figure. Judge Legrome Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved the settlement, which represents $16 for each class member. Jon Hart, who was the named party and who filed the original lawsuit, will receive $2,500. Current or former Comcast customers who used certain peer-to-peer sites between April 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 and experienced throttling related problems are eligible to file a claim.
Hart sued Comcast in November 2007. Hart filed his case in Superior Court in California, accusing the company of blocking access to peer-to-peer sites including Gnutella, BitTorrent, Ares, eDonkey and FastTrack. The case was moved to Pennsylvania. Hart accused Comcast of using softwade that terminated access to file-sharing sites. Comcast acknowledged delaying peer-to-peer internet traffic during peak access times. However, the company denied that it blocked any specific sites. The Federal Communications Commission investigated and found that Comcast did block specific sites and penalized the company.
Comcast users still have until August 29, 2010 to file a claim at P2Pcongestionsettlement.com. Separate lawsuits on the matter can no longer be filed as the court previously set a deadline of May, 2010 to opt-out. If additional legitimate claims are made, the amount of the settlement could still go down.
Comcast has not admitted to any illegal action or other wrongdoing in the settlement.