Charter Communications has agreed to settle piracy lawsuits filed by the foremost file labels, which accused the cable web supplier of failing to terminate the accounts of subscribers who illegally obtain copyrighted songs.
Sony, Universal, Warner, and their varied subsidiaries sued Charter in US District Court in Colorado in March 2019 in a go well with that claimed the ISP helps subscribers pirate music by promoting packages with greater web speeds. They filed one other lawsuit in opposition to Charter in the identical courtroom in August 2021.
Both instances had been settled. The file labels and Charter informed the courtroom of their settlements on August 2 in filings that stated, “The Parties hereby notify the Court that they have resolved the above-captioned action.” Upon the settlements, the courtroom vacated the pending trials and requested the events to submit dismissal papers inside 28 days.
Charter subsidiary Bright House Networks additionally settled the same lawsuit in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida this week. The file labels’ case in Florida was settled someday earlier than a scheduled trial, as TorrentFreak reported on August 2. The case was dismissed with prejudice after the settlement.
No particulars on any of the settlements got within the paperwork notifying the courts. A 3-week jury trial in one of many Colorado instances was scheduled to start in June 2023 however is not wanted.
The query for web customers is whether or not the settlements imply that Charter might be extra aggressive in terminating subscribers who illegally obtain copyrighted materials. Charter declined to remark when Ars Technica requested whether or not it agreed to extend account terminations of subscribers accused of piracy. Ars Technica additionally contacted the massive three file labels and can replace this text if they supply any info on the settlements.
$1B Cox Verdict May Force ISPs to Cut Off Subscribers
Even if the settlements haven’t any particular provision on terminating subscribers, Charter presumably has to pay the file labels to settle the claims. That may make the nation’s second-biggest ISP extra prone to terminate subscribers accused of piracy with a purpose to stop future lawsuits.
A jury dominated in December 2019 that Cox should pay $1 billion in damages to the foremost file labels in a case filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. That resolution raised alarm bells for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Center For Democracy and Technology, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, and consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge.
Those teams warned in a June 2021 courtroom submitting that the decision, if not overturned, “will force ISPs to terminate more subscribers with less justification or risk staggering liability.” The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments in March 2022 and has not but issued a ruling.
Charter Motion to Dismiss Denied
In the Colorado courtroom, the file labels’ grievance stated Charter “has knowingly contributed to, and reaped substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers. Charter has insisted on doing nothing—despite receiving thousands of notices that detailed the illegal activity of its subscribers, despite its clear legal obligation to address the widespread, illegal downloading of copyrighted works on its internet services, and despite being sued previously by Plaintiffs for similar conduct.”
Charter argued in a movement to dismiss the case that “a failure to terminate a customer’s access to the internet based solely upon unverified (and unverifiable) notices alleging past infringement does not demonstrate the requisite intent by an ISP to encourage infringement.” Charter stated it has a “policy to not terminate customer accounts based solely upon the receipt of notices containing unverifiable accusations of infringement.”
Charter additionally wrote that “plaintiffs do not (and cannot) allege that termination restricts access to the infringing content. It is common sense that terminating a customer’s internet connection does not prevent a customer from finding another source of Internet access, nor does it impact the availability of the allegedly infringing content hosted via peer-to-peer networks or programs. Charter has no more ability to block access to peer-to-peer networks than a subscriber’s electric company.” Charter’s movement to dismiss the case was denied, and the corporate in the end selected to not go to trial.
In Florida, the decide dismissed the file labels’ declare for vicarious legal responsibility, however the business’s grievance additionally sought damages for vicarious copyright infringement.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 12.4 % of Charter, is a part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica and WIRED.
This story initially appeared on Ars Technica.