Downloading Ubuntu via BitTorrent gets Comcast customer a DMCA warning

This week, Redditor u/NateNate60 got a nasty surprise in his inbox—a DMCA infringement warning from his ISP, Comcast Xfinity. The notice warned him that Comcast had “received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works.”

The strange thing about this warning was the “infringed work” in question: Ubuntu 20.04, which is free to redistribute by any means desired. Adding insult to injury, the hash listed on the notice is the same one associated with Canonical’s own torrent for Ubuntu 20.04.2—u/NateNate60 was getting dinged for torrenting an unmodified copy of an open source operating system.

DMCA, P2P, and you

Typically, DMCA infringement warnings are sent as a result of an ISP customer using BitTorrent to acquire media or software illicitly. While the customer is attached to the swarm, their public IP address is advertised—this allows other members of the swarm to request pieces of the files being torrented from that user.

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