Fresh Off a Major Victory, the Music Industry Sues Charter Communications

How many more ISPs will the music industry sue?

Multiple ISPs in the United States are currently embroiled in lawsuits brought on by the music industry.

Cox Communications, for example, is bracing for a difficult court battle against major labels in Virginia.

The ISP hasn’t had a great time there.  At the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a federal judge stripped the ISP of copyright immunities earlier this year.  Cox later received the order to pay BMG $25 million.  The same judge recently denied the ISP’s request to change the courtroom venue to its home district of Georgia.

Grande Communications hasn’t fared much better.  Represented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), major labels – including Sony Music, Warner, and Universal – have recently scored a huge victory.  A magistrate judge stripped the Texas-based ISP of its safe harbor defense, guaranteeing the RIAA a win.

Now, fresh off the heels of that victory, the music industry has taken Charter Communications to court.

Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Recording Corp., Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Corp., among many other music companies, have filed a 27-page complaint in a Colorado federal court.  They accuse the ISP of contributing to and profiting from the “massive copyright infringement” of its subscribers.

Thousands of Charter’s subscribers have willfully downloaded, copied, and distributed copyrighted music through BitTorrent as well as other services.  This has caused “great harm” to labels, artists, and songwriters, say the record companies.

Charter, which does business as Spectrum, has outright refused to work with labels to solve this problem.  Instead, the labels claim the ISP has chosen “to prioritize its own profits over its legal obligations.”  This includes ignoring hundreds of thousands of statutory infringement notices from the music industry.

Thus, say the labels, Charter has willingly operated its internet service as “an attractive tool and safe haven for infringement.”

Indeed, for years, Charter deliberately refused to take reasonable measures to curb consumers from using its internet services to infringe on other copyrights, including plaintiffs’ copyrights — even after Charter became aware of particular customers engaging in specific, repeated acts of infringement.

The labels added it’s “well-established law” that Charter’s willful ignorance remains illegal.

Despite its professed commitment to taking action against repeat offenders, Charter routinely thumbed its nose at [the labels] by continuing to provide service to subscribers it knew to be serially infringing copyrighted sound recordings and musical compositions.

Because of this, Charter has attracted, retained, and charged infringing users higher fees.

The record companies have asked for unspecified damages for infringement between March 2013 and May 2016.

You can view the lawsuit below.


Featured image by Manuel Strehl (CC by 3.0).

5 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I’m seriously in favor at this point of just kicking this extortion racket off the internet and denying it access to it and sending it back to pre internet tech before it inevitably kicks the internet down a flight of stairs for good since that’s its ultimate goal no matter what since they are going to scorch every man woman and child on earth if it just lets them get another penny they don’t deserve.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, but the purpose of the internet isn’t so that you can steal music. Grow up.

      • Anonymous

        anon your people act in bad faith with your lawsuits. And it’s time people started treating you like it. If that’s what it takes. Then that’s what it takes. No courts going to change reality.

        • Anonymous

          You assholes have been ripping people off for 20 years and not getting busted for it.
          You’re a joke. Shut up before you embarrass yourself any further.

          • Anonymous

            Listen anon here is the deal:
            Your inevitably going to lose regardless of what court cases or bad faith lawsuits you take up or any reaction to them becuase here is fact:

            Those old money changers in Congress that have been giving you laws and leverage like a dad to his kid becuase the industry has friends? They are not always going to be there. And those people that grew up watching this crap play out and use the internet and just remember the riaa suing cancer patients and dancing babies with music in the backgorund? They are. So really it does matter what you win or lose. Your fighting against the clock here.