Charter Settles Piracy Battle With Record Labels

Broadband provider Charter Communications has settled two lawsuits brought by a coalition of record labels that alleged the company contributed to copyright infringement by failing to disconnect subscribers who engaged in piracy on peer-to-peer networks.

The companies informed federal judges in Florida and Colorado this week about the settlements. Terms were not disclosed, and a Charter spokesperson declined to comment.

The deals resolve litigation dating to 2019, when record companies including Universal Music Group, Sony and Warner Bros. claimed Charter was responsible for copyright infringement on its network because it failed to disconnect alleged infringers.

“Charter deliberately turned a blind eye to its subscribers’ infringement,” the labels alleged in the complaint filed in Colorado.

The companies added that Charter's terms of service allow it to suspend or terminate accounts of infringers, but that it failed to do so, even after being informed of “blatant and repeated infringement” by specific users.

The record labels made similar allegations in the Florida lawsuit, which had been scheduled to go to trial this week.

Charter isn't the only broadband carrier sued by record companies over alleged piracy. Others, including RCN and Cox, have faced similar lawsuits.

In December of 2019, a jury in Virginia found Cox responsible for piracy by users and ordered the company to pay $1 billion in damages.

Cox is appealing that ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in the case in March.

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