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Record industry’s latest ISP copyright litigation settled at the very last minute

By | Published on Wednesday 3 August 2022

Bright House

One time US internet service provider Bright House has reached a very last minute settlement deal with the major record companies halting the latest court battle set to test the responsibilities and liabilities of net firms when it comes to policing piracy online.

Bright House is one of various America ISPs that the record industry has been seeking to hold liable for the copyright infringement of its users – even though the company was absorbed by another net firm, Charter Communications, which has been separately sued by the labels.

Both the Bright House and Charter cases sought to exploit the precedent set in the legal battles with Cox Communications, which was successfully sued first by BMG, and then by the majors. Cox was shown in court to have only paid lip service to the repeat infringer policy it was obliged to operate in order to benefit from the good old copyright safe harbour.

Without safe harbour protection, Cox could be held liable for the copyright infringement of its users who had shared and accessed unlicensed music. And those liabilities resulted in a billion dollars in damages in the major labels case. Meaning that all the other ISPs targeted with similar litigation have been very keen to find a solid defence.

But Bright House’s various attempts to kill the litigation pursed against it by the labels – including a countersuit accusing the majors of submitting dodgy copyright notices to internet companies – all failed, and the whole thing was due to go to trial this week.

However, the proceedings were delayed on Monday when one of the legal team working for the record labels tested positive for COVID. And then yesterday a very brief legal filing was made telling the court the dispute between the majors and Bright House was officially over. That legal filing stated: “Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 3.09, the parties hereby notify the court that they have resolved the above-captioned action”.

According to Torrentfreak, having received that statement, judge Mary Scriven dismissed the case with prejudice, which means the litigation cannot be revived in the future. Terms of the deal between Bright House and the record companies are not known.

Meanwhile, the separate litigation against Bright House’s now parent company Charter Communications continues, for now at least.