Major Labels Demand $46.8 Million Payment — Plus Interest — from ISP Grande Communications

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Photo Credit: Eyestetix Studio

Back in November of 2022, a jury awarded the major labels over $46.76 million in damages as part of their copyright infringement lawsuit against Grande Communications Networks. Now, with the decision having been upheld by a federal court, the Big Three have officially moved to assure that the internet service provider (ISP) will in fact cough up the sizable sum if its ongoing appeal falls short.

The RIAA-corralled labels just recently outlined their qualms with the defendant company’s motion (pending appeal) for bond approval and a stay of the multimillion-dollar verdict. Of course, this isn’t the first copyright infringement action the majors have spearheaded against an ISP – or the first astronomical ruling they’ve scored in connection with the cases.

And in urging the court to reject Princeton, New Jersey-headquartered Grande Communications’ proposed bond, the major labels went ahead and cited the latter point, and particularly the terms of the bond posted by ISP Cox Communications in a separate-but-similar suit.

This time around, though, Grande’s suggested bond terms are “impermissibly vague” when it comes to the timing of the verdict payment’s transfer should the ISP fail to achieve the desired result on appeal, according to the legal text.

In the RIAA’s view, “Grande’s bond makes the surety liable for the judgment only if” the ISP fails to pay all damages required under the initial verdict. “That is improper,” the major labels indicated. “It has been well-settled for more than a century that a surety must become immediately liable on a supersedeas bond when the judgment is affirmed on appeal.”

“Here, the surety is liable only if Grande ‘does not perform’ the judgment or ‘fails to pay’ all damages against it,” the RIAA elaborated. “The bond does not define what those terms mean, leaving it unclear how long Grande would have to complete performance after the conclusion of the appeal” and what efforts would be required of the plaintiffs.

Additionally, the Big Three took the opportunity to explain “that Grande’s bond does not account for post-judgment interest, but only the amount of the judgment plus costs.” In the Fifth Circuit, it’s “beyond dispute” that “supersedeas bonds must account for post-judgement interest,” per the text.

Based upon these points, the majors have specifically called on the court to “deny Grande’s motion for approval of its supersedeas bond and stay of judgment until the deficiencies” – or the alleged lack of immediate liability for the verdict if the appeal comes up short as well as the alleged need to factor for interest – are remedied.

Earlier this week, stream-ripper’s years-long legal battle with the RIAA drew to a close, and the major labels about two weeks back filed a separate infringement complaint against The Internet Archive.