Comcast offers $16M settlement to peer-to-peer users

— 6:00 AM on December 24, 2009

In October of 2007, word started going around that Comcast was quietly restricting access to file-sharing protocols like BitTorrent, eDonkey, and Gnutella. Not long after that, the company was hit with a class-action lawsuit over the tactic. Now, two years later, Ars Technica writes that Comcast is on the verge of settling with irate customers.

The cable operator has submitted a proposed settlement that would entitle affected users to a total of $16 million, minus settlement costs. The settlement website stresses that this proposal "is not an admission of wrongdoing by any party." Rather, Ars says Comcast has expressed a desire to "avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose."

The website includes instructions for submitting a claim, should you be one of the unfortunate victims whom Comcast prevented from BitTorrenting perfectly legal video and audio files. How much cash can so-called class members expect? Let's see...

Comcast agrees to credit or refund some current or former High-Speed Internet service customers. Comcast agrees to pay up to $16 million dollars, less Settlement costs, to eligible Class Members. If you submit a valid Claim Form, you will receive a share of this amount, not to exceed $16.00.

So, nothing to get terribly excited about, but free settlement money nonetheless. The settlement isn't final, though. Comcast says the court has already granted preliminary approval, but according to Ars, a judge still needs to sign off on it.

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