An federal jury in Austin has ordered US telecommunications and internet provider Grande Communications to pay $46.7 million in damages to a group of record labels for infringement.
The court found the company to be liable for “willful infringement of 1,403 copyrighted sound recordings”, according to a statement issued by the RIAA.
RIAA (The Recording Industry Association of America) noted in its press release that under federal law, internet providers are not allowed to be “willfully blind to online piracy on their networks”.
The release added: “In this case, the jury found that internet provider Grande Communications failed to meet its legal obligations and was liable for willful copyright infringement”.
The court’s decision follows several other high-profile cases and settlements addressing infringement on internet provider networks including Cox Communications and Bright House Networks/Charter.
In the Cox case, which was originally launched in 2018, the ISP was accused by the majors at the time of having “knowingly contributed to, and reaped substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers”.
In December 2019, a jury decided that the firm was liable for the infringement of over 10,000 music copyrights by its users and it was ordered to pay the labels over $99,000 for each of the 10,017 alleged works that were infringed – the equivalent of $1 billion in collective damages.
In August, a number of record labels, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment settled a copyright infringement lawsuit against US internet service provider Bright House Networks on the eve of a scheduled hearing in a Florida court.
In a brief court filing on August 2, Universal Music, on behalf of other Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) members, said, “they have resolved” the case against Bright House, without disclosing the specifics of the settlement.
The lawsuit came about four years after Bright House was acquired by Charter Communications for $10.4 billion.
“Artists, songwriters, rightsholders, fans and legitimate services all depend upon a healthy digital music ecosystem that effectively protects creative works online.”
Mitch Glazier, RIAA
RIAA’s Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier released the following statement in response to the latest outcome: “This is the latest validation by US courts and juries that unchecked online infringement will not stand.
“The jury’s strong action here sends an important message to Internet Service Providers.
“Artists, songwriters, rightsholders, fans and legitimate services all depend upon a healthy digital music ecosystem that effectively protects creative works online.”Music Business Worldwide