Rep. Boucher Asks Comcast to Stop Blocking BitTorrent

Congressman Rick Boucher (D - Va.)While Congresspeople have recently been quite vocal about their opposition to file sharing services, at least one has presented a contrarian view: Fair use promoter Rep. Rick Boucher (D - Va.) said in a CNET interview that Comcast should lay off BitTorrent.

"The inability of customers to (share files) significantly diminishes their ability to utilize the Internet for one of its most important applications, which is user-to-user content." Rep. Boucher told CNET, adding that Comcast's attempts at regulating Internet traffic were a mistake.

Boucher argued that P2P does have some applications that are not illegal, and those using it for those purposes should not be penalized. He does acknowledge that the company must keep a careful eye on its bandwidth to ensure smooth service for everyone.

However, he says that in doing this, the company should not specifically target one group.

The Congressman is noted for his advocacy of fair use and individuals' rights in copyright debates, having been the chief sponsor of the FAIR USE Act, and having driven through many exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, including one which makes backups of media exempt from violation.

Comcast had denied that it was throttling BitTorrent traffic since the story first came out in late summer. However, it wasn't until a story last week by the Associated Press where the company's denials began to look questionable.

The AP wrote of its own studies showing that the company was indeed targeting BitTorrent traffic and actively blocking it. Comcast's actions have managed to breathe some life back into the net neutrality debate, whose advocates suffered a setback in the wake of a critical FCC decision two weeks ago.

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