Dozens of Music Companies File Copyright Suit Against Charter Communications

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The internet service provider allegedly failed to "take reasonable measures to curb customers from using its Internet services to infringe on others’ copyrights."

More than 50 leading record labels and publishers have filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications, Inc. for contributing and profiting off its internet subscribers' copyright infringement. 

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Colorado, accuses internet service provider Charter -- which conducts business under the name Spectrum -- of deliberately refusing to "take reasonable measures to curb customers from using its Internet services to infringe on others’ copyrights, including Plaintiffs’ copyrights -- even after Charter became aware of particular customers engaging in specific, repeated acts of infringement."

The music companies continue to state they sent hundreds of thousands of statutory infringement notices to Charter that went mostly ignored.

"Rather than working with Plaintiffs to curb this massive infringement, Charter did nothing, choosing to prioritize its own profits over its legal obligations," reads the suit.    

The lawsuit comes as the latest in a string of lawsuits filed against internet service providers over recent years holding the companies accountable for their clients' actions online. 

Last year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of BMG Rights Management against Cox Communications, upholding a federal judge's decision that a Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor provision requires service providers to reasonably implement a policy to terminate the service of repeat copyright infringers. In that case, the Court of Appeals reversed the previous $25 million verdict and ordered a new trial because of an error in instructions to the jury -- eventually paving the way to a settlement last summer. 

Now Cox is preparing for another level battle -- this time with major labels -- in Virginia.

Meanwhile, the RIAA has been facing off against Grande Communications in Texas since 2017, alleging similar negligence to take action against repeat copyright offenders. 

"It is well-established law that a party may not assist someone it knows is engaging in copyright infringement," notes the lawsuit against Charter. "Charter’s motivation for refusing to terminate or suspend the accounts of blatant infringing subscribers is simple: it valued corporate profits over its legal responsibilities. Charter did not want to lose subscriber revenue by terminating accounts of infringing subscribers."