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Lawsuit: High-Speed Internet Fuels Music Piracy

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

The music industry is going after copyright pirates, again, but this time it's about how fast they get away with it.

In Warner Bros. Records Inc. v. Charter Communications Inc., the plaintiffs allege Charter Communications makes it too easy for people to rip off their music. According to the complaint, the cable company allows subscribers to download eight songs in three seconds.

There's nothing wrong with high-speed internet access, of course. But before you sign up, remember that statutory damages are up to $150,000 for each infringement.

Vicarious Infringement

Filed in Colorado, the federal complaint accuses Charter of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. The plaintiffs, including Sony, Universal, and Warner, say they alerted the cable company of the infringement but it has not disconnected the infringers.

"Rather than disconnect the Internet access of blatant repeat infringers to curtail their infringement, Charter knowingly continued to provide these subscribers with the Internet access that enabled them to continue to illegally download or distribute Plaintiffs' copyrighted works unabated," the lawsuit alleges.

The violations allegedly occurred between March 24, 2013, and May 17, 2016. The complaint seeks statutory damages, plus any profits.

The plaintiffs say they served subpoenas to identify the infringers, but Charter opposed the requests.

High-Speed Internet

Charter has denied the allegations in the complaint. From its perspective, high-speed internet is a good thing.

According to reports, internet service providers generally resist disconnecting alleged pirates. However, AT&T recently terminated service for more than a dozen customers accused of copyright infringement.

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