[Editor Charlie sez: So much for the “DMCA license”. This case reprises the highly successful case against Cox Communications won by BMG Rights relying on work done by Rightscorp. (Rightscorp is also helping songwriters by deciphering the mass “address unknown” filings of tens of millions of notices with the Copyright Office.)]
The RIAA is suing the San Marcos, Texas-based ISP Grande Communications for copyright infringement on behalf of its member companies, in a case that potentially could help define how Internet services must deal with consumers who repeatedly download music and other copyrighted works illegally.
The lawsuit, filed today in an Austin, Texas, district court, accuses Grande of “refusing to take meaningful action against repeat infringers” – users who repeatedly downloaded music illegally over BitTorrent networks.
Generally, ISPs operate under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which gives them “safe harbor” from liability for copyright infringement committed by their users. (The users themselves can still be liable.) But a provision in the 1998 law requires digital services that operate under the safe harbor to implement “a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers.”
Such “repeat infringer” policies have received more attention in the last decade, as copyright holders have tried to define the limits of the safe harbor. The issue has been especially important since December 2015, when a jury delivered a $25 million verdict in favor of BMG against Cox Communications, on the grounds that Cox didn’t qualify for safe harbor because its repeat infringer policy was inadequately implemented. Cox is appealing the verdict.