Sony, Warner and UMG Sue RCN for Copyright Infringement

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The record labels most important of the music industry, Sony, Warner and UMG, face against ISPs (Internet Service Provider) and their pirate subscribers. The RCN ISP are now the new victims of the latest mass lawsuit established for copyright infringement.

On Tuesday, August 27, 2019, several major record labels filed a lawsuit claiming that RCN has done nothing to combat piracy. The lawsuit states that RCN allowed its subscribers to contribute to piracy, and seeks to hold RCN responsible for becoming a “refuge” for the copyright infringement.

The main allegation indicates that RCN was aware of the violations that were occurring on a large scale. Record labels contend that RCN had sufficient knowledge of repeated illegal acts of infringement that occurred on a mass level throughout its network. ISP did nothing to prevent these criminals from downloading music illegally through RCN networks, according to the claim.

"The defendants had full knowledge of which clients were involved in specific and repeated acts of illegal infraction in the RCN network, therefore, they could have easily prevented those clients from continuing to commit infractions using the RCN Internet service".

The complaint (UMG Recordings Inc. et al. V. RCN Telecom Services LLC et al., Case number 3: 19-cv-17272) was filed with the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and highlights the claims filed in cases against Cox Communications and Charter Communications.

The case was presented jointly by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, which are recognized worldwide for being the main musical labels, with the RIAA leading the initiative.

ISPs are generally not responsible for the infraction of their subscribers, or at least they have been able to get their way. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act secure port provision offers protections to websites that "passively host user content." Traditionally, these protections have been extended to ISPs that offer unfiltered content to their subscribers, provided they respond quickly to infringement notifications.

But the statute also requires a policy that terminates the contract of repeat offenders. The lawsuit alleges that RCN customers received more than five million notifications of copyright infringement, without serious penalties or account cancellations.

A similar argument was presented in a case against Cox Communications in 2014. The Fourth Circuit finally ruled that Cox had lost its DMCA safe harbor immunity by keeping offenders connected.

Beyond Cox, the three major record labels have filed cases against Charter and Grande Communications. Those cases are in process, although the judge of Grande Communications recently ruled that the ISP lost all its DMCA protections.

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