Music labels settle copyright dispute with Bright House on eve of trial

2 minute read

A Charter Communications company service van is pictured in Pasadena, California U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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  • Labels have sued several other ISPs for allowing "massive" piracy
  • Cox was hit with $1 billion verdict in similar case

(Reuters) - Charter Communications Inc's Bright House Networks LLC and a coalition of major record labels have settled a lawsuit claiming Bright House enabled "massive" copyright infringement, according to a Tuesday filing on the eve of a scheduled trial in Tampa federal court.

Bright House and the labels, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music, told the court that they had resolved the case without providing further details. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven canceled a scheduled Wednesday trial in response to the notice.

Charter declined to comment. UMG and the labels' attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The labels have sued several internet service providers for allegedly turning a blind eye to user piracy, including Frontier Communications, RCN Corp and Cox Communications Inc. They have also separately sued Bright House's parent company Charter Communications in Colorado.

A jury in Virginia awarded the labels $1 billion against Cox in 2019, which Cox has since appealed.

The labels told the Tampa court in 2019 that Bright House deliberately refused to act against known repeat infringers even after they sent it "hundreds of thousands" of notices.

Bright House responded that it did not have the ability to supervise its customers or control their conduct, but terminated the accounts of repeat infringers. It also said it could not verify the accuracy of the labels' notices and accused them of engaging in "rampant and deceptive enforcement conduct."

The company told the court in May that its anti-infringement program was "modeled after and closely tracked the industry-standard anti-infringement program" cited by the labels as "best practices" for ISPs.

The case is UMG Recordings Inc v. Bright House Networks LLC, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, No. 8:19-cv-00710.

For the labels: Matthew Oppenheim of Oppenheim & Zebrak; and Neema Sahni and Jonathan Sperling of Covington & Burling

For Bright House: Andrew Schapiro and Charles Verhoeven of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; and Michael Elkin and Jennifer Golinveaux of Winston & Strawn

Read more:

Cox to pay $1 billion to music labels, publishers over piracy infringement

Record labels sue Frontier Communications over music piracy

RCN a 'haven' for copyright infringement, record labels say

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com