About six weeks ago, the majors – Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music – filed a second copyright infringement lawsuit against Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR). Now operator Spectrum has officially decided to dismiss the lawsuit.
Like the action brought in 2019 by the three major labels (as well as their publishing houses and several subsidiaries) against Charter Communications, this new complaint accused the mega-ISP of having committed an infringement of both power of attorney and by contribution. The said violation allegedly took place from July 26, 2018, according to the plaintiffs, while the initial (ongoing) lawsuit has a claims period from March 24, 2013 to May 17, 2016.
Charter, argues this latest complaint, “has knowingly contributed to, and derived substantial benefits from, massive copyright infringements committed by thousands of its subscribers.” Further, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company “insisted on doing nothing, despite receiving thousands of notifications detailing the illegal activities of its subscribers, despite its clear legal obligation to tackle the widespread illegal downloading of works protected by copyright, ”the plaintiffs asserted. .
Those notices topped 150,000 in the second claim period, the majors said, and Charter would have “failed to terminate or take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers of which it was aware.”
As initially mentioned, Charter and his legal team retaliated with a motion to dismiss, claiming up front that while “one might expect the plaintiffs to prosecute” people who allegedly violated protected documents, the plaintiffs instead “chose to pursue the Internet.”
The majors, continues the defendant, do not allege that the ISP has “any connection or involvement with P2P networks” used to infringe copyrights or “that Charter was aware of any of the acts. alleged infringement before they occur ”. Likewise, the FAI notes that the Big Three “do not allege that Charter had no way of verifying the accuracy of the infringement charges made in the notices – and neither could they make such an allegation of. plausibly “.
Bearing these points in mind, the Charter on the Counterfeiting by Supply of Means Front indicates that “the request must be rejected on the grounds that the mere sale of a product or service” does not constitute an infringement by provision of means if the product [or service] is… capable of substantial non-infringing uses, ”citing Sony Corporation of America’s 1984 trial with Universal City Studios.
“Although the complaint contains boilerplate language that Charter” was contributing to … the infringement of its subscribers, “these allegations only cite an element of contributory copyright infringement but offer no factual claim describing how Charter would have favored or encouraged the violation “, specifies the defendant.
Then, recognizing that “certain out-of-circuit courts have misapplied Grokster in cases involving ISPs who, like Charter, simply provide a connection to the Internet “, the operator Spectrum indicates that the decision” expressly states that proof of an ISP’s intention must go “beyond the characteristics of the ISP. ‘a product or knowledge that it can be used for counterfeiting purposes, and to show statements or actions to promote counterfeiting.‘
“In particular, the Complainants do not allege that Charter’s policy of not terminating customer accounts on the sole basis of receipt of notices containing unverifiable charges of violation was adopted by Charter for the purpose of promoting the copyright infringement, and neither could they plausibly make such a claim, ”the legal text continues.
Finally, Charter attacks allegations of counterfeiting by major labels, specifying that the plaintiffs do not argue that “subscribers suspected of violators are attracted to the Charter network because of the presence of unauthorized music recordings on the Internet”. The absence of the allegation is allegedly “fatal” to the trial “because the law requires that the raffle be” the counterfeit products “themselves. ”
Charter’s alleged “failure to police” the activities of its subscribers could not have attracted counterfeit-conscious customers, as there is no evidence that “potential subscribers would have known” of the behind-the-scenes operations, according to the defendant. Likewise, the ISP describes as “too implausible to survive a motion to reject” the claim that “advertisements for” superfast internet speeds “have attracted allegedly violating users … broadband access is a feature that all subscribers wish and all ISPs brag.
“Each ISP has the power to turn off subscriber service, just as an electricity company can shut off a customer’s electricity,” the motion to dismiss said near its end. “But neither Charter nor the power company has the capacity to oversee what customers are actually doing with the service while they are doing it.”
At the time of this article’s publication, the majors did not appear to have publicly responded to Charter’s arguments against the copyright infringement lawsuit. In June, the Big Three labels filed a separate infringement complaint against Connecticut-based Norwalk, Frontier Communications, and the ISP quickly rejected the lawsuit and the allegations contained therein.