Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'charter'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Site Related
    • News & Updates
    • Site / Forum Feedback
    • Member Introduction
  • News
    • General News
    • FileSharing News
    • Mobile News
    • Software News
    • Security & Privacy News
    • Technology News
  • Downloads
    • nsane.down
  • General Discussions & Support
    • Filesharing Chat
    • Security & Privacy Center
    • Software Chat
    • Mobile Mania
    • Technology Talk
    • Entertainment Exchange
    • Guides & Tutorials
  • Off-Topic Chat
    • The Chat Bar
    • Jokes & Funny Stuff
    • Polling Station

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Found 10 results

  1. Internet provider Charter Communications must share the personal details of hundreds of alleged pirates with the major record labels. The requirement, signed by a Colorado federal court, is part of the discovery process in an ongoing legal battle. The targeted accounts include business subscribers and the most active copyright infringers. In addition, the ISP is also required to allow the music companies to match IP addresses to specific infringers. Every day, ISPs send thousands of copyright infringement notices to subscribers, informing them that their connections have been used to download pirated content. These warnings have long been without consequences. However, copyright holders in the US are working hard to change that. The major record labels filed several lawsuits against ISPs for failing to terminate repeat infringers. These are serious claims, as became apparent from a billion-dollar damages judgment against Cox not too long ago. Charter Communications is currently caught up in a similar lawsuit. The company, which has millions of subscribers, endured a setback last month when its motion to dismiss the vicarious copyright infringement claims was dismissed. This week there is more bad news. As part of the discovery process, the music companies asked Charter to hand over the personal information of roughly 11,000 subscribers who received infringement notices. The ISP refused to do so, but the music companies insisted. To break this stalemate, the court asked special master Regina Rodriguez to decide over the issue. This week she released her order, which is somewhat of a compromise. Charter argued that handing over the personal details would cause piracy issues. In addition, it would be a burdensome process as the California Consumer Privacy Act requires the ISP to notify all these customers to allow them to respond. In her order (pdf), Rodriguez agrees that this would indeed be burdensome, also for the court. “While the information may be relevant, the notification of 11,000+ customers, and the potential legal challenges flowing therefrom, would be burdensome to the parties as well as to the courts,” she writes. As a solution, she suggested limiting the hand over of personal information to a small subset of alleged pirates. Both parties were asked to agree on how large this sample would be, which resulted in the following compromise. Charter is required to share the personal details of all commercial subscribers who received notices, 638 in total. In addition, the ISP must also share information on the 112 subscribers who received the most notices, as well as the 38 subscribers who reached out to Charter about the notices. The music companies also requested DHCP logs from Charter to link copyright infringement notices to particular subscribers. The ISP countered that the logs would not be sufficient to do this, but admitted that querying its internal systems would make it possible. This request was also granted by the court. “Defendant is ordered to produce information sufficient for Plaintiffs to match the IP addresses contained in infringement notices served on Charter with particular subscribers,” Rodriguez ordered. The full order lists several other requirements and also includes some good news for the ISP. For example, it asked for a full harddrive with evidence from the anti-piracy company MarkMonitor, which the music companies used to track the infringing activity. MarkMonitor shared this information, but only with the music companies. These are now required to share everything, including all metadata, with the ISP. “The Plaintiffs inserted themselves into the dispute when they accepted the production from MarkMonitor, and they cannot now attempt to sidestep their assumed obligation to produce accurate information,” the order reads. How the record labels plan to use the subscriber information to assist their case against Charter is not entirely clear. It is possible, however, that they will reach out to some alleged infringers to gather further evidence against the ISP. Source
  2. Charter's request to dismiss the vicarious piracy liability claims of several major music companies has failed. The ISP argued that it doesn't directly profit from copyright-infringing subscribers and that it has no ability to control them. However, these arguments didn't convince the court, which denied the motion, noting that Charter could certainly have done more. Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US, stands accused of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. Several music companies including Capitol Records, Warner Bros. and Sony Music filed a lawsuit last year arguing that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers. The ISP objected and filed a motion at a Colorado federal court, asking it to dismiss the claim of vicarious copyright infringement. Charter argued that it doesn’t directly profit from pirating subscribers, nor does it have the ability to control them. Previously, other Internet providers have been successful in getting vicarious infringement claims dropped, but Charter’s attempt failed. In an order released this week, US District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson denied the motion to dismiss. Judge Jackson follows an earlier recommendation from Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty. Charter objected to this recommendation and was backed by an amicus curiae brief from 23 law professors. However, their arguments failed to convince the court. Among other things, Charter argued that it didn’t profit more from pirating subscribers than from non-pirates. Judge Jackson doesn’t dispute this, but stresses that it’s enough to show that there’s a financial benefit. “I find no case, and Charter has provided no case, suggesting that Charter must have benefited more from infringing subscribers than from non-infringing subscribers, or that the infringing subscribers paid more than non-infringing subscribers,” Judge Jackson writes. The ISP also countered that the option that its services can be used for piracy wasn’t the primary “draw” for prospective subscribers. Again, the Judge waves this argument noting that, at this stage, it’s enough to show that piracy was a draw. “Plaintiffs must only allege that the ability to download their infringing content served as a draw, not necessarily the only draw to subscribers. I find that plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that the ability to download infringing content served as a draw.” In addition to the ‘profit’ and ‘draw’ elements, the music companies also argued that Charter has the ability to supervise and control the activity of pirating subscribers. This is another requirement to prove vicarious infringement. The ISP disagreed and pointed out that it can’t identify and police pirating subscribers. Even if it would terminate users based on third-party allegations, these people could simply move to another provider and continue, it argued. Again, Judge Jackson wasn’t convinced. He stresses that it’s irrelevant what users would do at other ISPs and believes that Charter could certainly take action against some infringing subscribers. “Plaintiffs only seek to hold Charter liable for infringement that occurs through the use of Charter’s services, not all infringement that occurs on the internet,” Judge Jackson writes. “Charter can certainly limit its subscribers’ ability to infringe by blocking their access to the internet through Charter. I find that this is sufficient to allege that Charter has the ability to control infringement,” he adds All in all, the Judge sides with the earlier recommendation to deny Charter’s motion to dismiss. This means that the ISP will have to face the vicarious infringement charges. The claim for contributory copyright infringement also remains, as that wasn’t part of the motion to dismiss. A few weeks ago Charter countersued the music companies for sending inaccurate takedown notices. This matter is still on the Judge’s desk and will be decided in due course. Here is a copy of US District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson’s order on Charter’s motion to dismiss the vicarious liability claim. Source
  3. Last year Internet provider Charter Communications was sued by several record labels for not doing enough to curb piracy. A few weeks ago, the ISP hit back, suing the music companies for sending inaccurate takedown notices. The retaliatory move could promise fireworks but not according to the labels, who argue that Charter's claims fall flat. Legal battles between copyright holders and Internet providers are not new. In most countries these disputes revolve around site blocking but, in the US, a different trend has emerged. Over the past years, several major ISPs have been sued for failing to terminate accounts of alleged repeat infringers. These lawsuits are serious business. Late last year, for example, Cox was found guilty by a jury that awarded a billion dollars in damages. While the judgment is being appealed, other ISPs are on high alert. This is also true for Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US. The company was sued last year by several major music companies, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, which argued that the ISP is liable for pirating subscribers. Last month Charter replied to the record labels’ complaint. In addition to denying many of the allegations, the ISP also went on the offensive. Charter submitted a counterclaim accusing the labels of sending inaccurate DMCA takedown notices. The claim comes after the music companies removed 272 sound recordings and 183 music compositions from their initial complaint. These were dropped after the record labels were ordered to produce further evidence that they indeed owned the rights. Charter believes that the companies have sent many inaccurate takedown notices in the past. These notices reportedly cause damage to the ISP, which says it incurred costs and reputational damage by forwarding the “false accusations.” “Charter is injured when it processes inaccurate notices, causing it to forward false accusations to its subscribers, to the extent this creates tension with the impacted subscribers, negatively affects goodwill, and causes reputational harm to Charter,” the counterclaim reads. This could be a serious problem, especially since some of the claimed works were also used to calculate the damages in the Cox trial. However, the music companies now argue that the allegations don’t hold water and they, therefore, ask the court to dismiss the counterclaim. In a reply, received last week by the US District Court in Denver, Colorado, the music companies point out that under the DMCA, misrepresentation claims only hold up if the receiving party removed or disabled access to the infringing content. In this case, Charter didn’t. The ISP went on the record stating that it could not remove any content, or stop users from sharing any files. “Here, Charter does not allege that it removed or disabled access to any infringing material or activity identified in Plaintiffs’ notices. In fact, Charter concedes that it cannot remove infringing content, nor restrict its users’ access to it. Thus, no amendment could cure the deficiency, and the claim should be dismissed with prejudice,” the labels write. In addition, the labels point out that the ISP failed to state a claim. While mistakes may have happened while sending takedown notices, Charter has no evidence showing that the labels had “actual knowledge” of any misrepresentations, they counter. “Charter’s claim is based entirely on speculation arising from Plaintiffs’ decision in February 2020 to drop from this suit a few hundred of more than 11,400 copyrighted works included in their original complaint. “Charter also has not identified any material misrepresentation or a single infringement notice that it claims was inaccurate, as required,” the labels add. Finally, the music companies point out that the DMCA’s three-year statute of limitations has expired for Charter’s claims. The notices at issue were sent nearly four years ago, they point out. Based on these arguments, the labels ask the court to dismiss the ISP’s counterclaim. On top of that, they also want Charter’s request for a declaratory judgment on contributory liability dismissed. Both requests are now with the court which, in due course, will decide if Charter can move ahead with its case or if it will be tossed out. Here is a copy of the record labels’ reply with the dismissal requests (pdf). Source
  4. Internet provider Charter Communications has submitted its answer to the piracy liability lawsuit filed by major record labels. The ISP denies many of the allegations and also strikes back. In a recent filing, it accuses the music companies of violating copyright law by sending DMCA notices for content they don't own. Last year, several major music companies sued Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US with 22 million subscribers. Helped by the RIAA, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, and others accused Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. Under US law, providers must terminate the accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances” and Charter failed to do so, according to the music labels. Specifically, the ISP is accused of ignoring repeat infringers on its network, which it continued to serve as customers. This week Charter replied to the complaint, which was amended in February, denying most of these allegations. In addition, the ISP is countersuing the music companies on two issues. Firstly, Charter requests a declaratory judgment from the court, ruling that it’s not contributorily liable for the alleged infringements of its customers. Among other things, it points out that it doesn’t host or promote any infringing activity, nor can it detect piracy on its network. Other ISPs have issued similar counterclaims in the past. However, Charter goes a step further by also countersuing the music companies for violating copyright law themselves. The ISP’s claim follows a decision by the music companies to remove 272 sound recordings and 183 music compositions from their initial complaint. These were dropped after the record labels were ordered to produce further evidence that they indeed owned the rights. This doesn’t sit well with Charter, which believes that the record companies, through the RIAA, have sent inaccurate DMCA notices for these works. “Upon information and belief, the Record Company Plaintiffs did not own the Dropped Works when they sent notices for them,” Charter writes, adding that “…the Record Company Plaintiffs did not have the right to send notices to Charter for the Dropped Works.” The notices in question contained “inaccurate information,” which includes the “misrepresentation” that the RIAA was authorized on behalf of the record companies to send these, the ISP adds. According to the court documents, some of these works were also part of the lawsuit against fellow ISP Cox, where a jury recently awarded a damages amount of nearly $100,000 per work. Charter itself argues that it was also directly harmed. The notices were processed in its CATS anti-piracy system, through which they were forwarded to subscribers. This obviously costs money. “Charter incurs costs in implementing its CATS, including when processing Plaintiffs’ inaccurate notices,” the ISP notes, adding that the inaccurate notices also resulted in reputational damage. “Charter is injured when it processes inaccurate notices, causing it to forward false accusations to its subscribers, to the extent this creates tension with the impacted subscribers, negatively affects goodwill, and causes reputational harm to Charter,” the counterclaim reads. The ISP demands a jury trial on these issues and wants to be compensated for all damages suffered. In addition, it asks the court to declare that it is not contributorily liable for the alleged copyright infringements of its subscribers. A copy of Charter’s response to the amended complaint, including the affirmative defenses and the counterclaims, is available here (pdf). Source
  5. Charter engineer quits over “reckless” rules against work-from-home Charter workers apparently face choice in pandemic: work in the office or resign. Enlarge / Charter CEO Tom Rutledge speaks during the New York Times DealBook conference in New York on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Getty Images | Bloomberg 182 with 117 posters participating A Charter Communications engineer called the company's rules against working from home during the coronavirus pandemic "pointlessly reckless" and "socially irresponsible" before subsequently resigning instead of continuing to work in the office, according to a TechCrunch article published yesterday. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge last week told employees in a memo to keep coming to the office even if their jobs can be performed from home, because people "are more effective from the office." Employees should only stay home if they "are sick, or caring for someone who is sick," Rutledge wrote. Nick Wheeler, a video operations engineer for Charter in Denver, sent an email expressing his displeasure with the policy to a senior vice president and "hundreds of engineers on Friday," TechCrunch wrote. The email said: I do not understand why we are still coming into the office as the COVID-19 pandemic surges around us. The CDC guidelines are clear. The CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment] guidelines are clear. The WHO guidelines are clear. The science of social distancing is real. We have the complete ability to do our jobs entirely from home. Coming into the office now is pointlessly reckless. It's also socially irresponsible. Charter, like the rest of us, should do what is necessary to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing has a real slowing effect on the virus—that means lives can be saved. A hazard condition isn't acceptable for the infrastructure beyond the short-term. Why is it acceptable for our health? The CDC's advice to businesses stresses that sick people should not come to the office but also urges businesses to "Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home." Resignation accepted Within hours of sending the email, Wheeler was out of a job. The TechCrunch article explained: Just a few minutes after Wheeler sent the email, he was summoned to a vice president's office to a conference call with human resources. In a call with TechCrunch, Wheeler said his email was described as "irresponsible" and "inciting fear." He said it was hard to understand why Charter had not implemented a work-from-home policy after the coronavirus outbreak was upgraded to a pandemic. Wheeler said he was given an ultimatum. Either he could work from the office or take sick leave. Staff are not allowed to work from home, he was told. Wheeler offered his resignation, but was sent home instead and asked to think about his decision until Monday. Later in the day, he received a call from work. Charter accepted his resignation, effective immediately. Charter explains policy Internet providers are in a tricky situation. Broadband is crucial to people's daily lives and their ability to work, even though it's not regulated like a utility. Maintaining home- and mobile-Internet connectivity is even more important than usual because of the pandemic, and that means sending technicians to customer homes and going into the field to fix broken equipment or wires. But back-office functions can be performed remotely at many companies, and Wheeler argued that Charter is no exception. Despite that, Charter argued that even employees whose jobs can be done remotely should still come to the office. Rutledge's memo to employees was posted on the company website Saturday. Rutledge wrote: Across 41 states, we have 95,000 employees, of which there are more than 80,000 frontline employees including maintenance and construction technicians, customer service specialists, sales and retention professionals, supply chain, employees in network construction, operations, monitoring and field dispatch facilities with their associated support functions across Spectrum Residential, Business, Enterprise, Reach and Networks. You provide and service important broadband connectivity, video, telephone, mobile services, local news and advertising for our customers, and those jobs cannot be performed effectively from home. What about those other 15,000 employees? Those people are based "primarily in Denver, St. Louis, Charlotte, and Stamford, [and] are here to support the front-line [workers]," Rutledge explained. The CEO then acknowledged that some of these employees could do their jobs from home but aren't being allowed to. "While some back office and management functions can be performed remotely, they are more effective from the office," Rutledge wrote. Rutledge said that Charter's policy could change, but he didn't say when. "You may have heard that some companies are instituting broad remote working policies for some of their employees," Rutledge wrote in the memo. "While we are preparing for that possibility by geography, Charter is not doing the same today. We provide critical communications services and we believe our approach to supporting front-line employees is the right way for us to operate at this time to continue to deliver those important services to our customers." "Based on facts and circumstances we will modify our approach as needed as we navigate COVID-19's development," he also wrote. By contrast, AT&T told its staff that "Employees who are in jobs that can be done from home should do so until further notice." Comcast is testing a work-from-home system with some workers but still tells most employees to come to the office or retail stores where they work, unless they are sick. Update at 5:32pm ET: When contacted by Ars, Charter declined comment on Wheeler but offered the following statement: "As one of FEMA's Community Lifeline sectors, our services are essential. We are working around the clock to deliver uninterrupted Internet, phone, and TV news services to our 29 million customers including critical institutions like hospitals, first responders, and government facilities. During this time, continuing to maintain our operations, while applying the latest CDC guidelines, ensures we provide these vital communications, which help flatten the curve and protect the country. We are reviewing our business and employee continuity plans daily, and will adjust accordingly." Wheeler not alone in objections Wheeler apparently was not the only Charter employee to disagree with the ISP's policy. "Over 80 percent of Charter employees in and around the Denver area can work from home," one person who claimed to be a Charter employee wrote on Reddit. But "Charter DOES NOT believe in work[ing] from home" and "as usual is being foolish and opening themselves up for huge legal troubles from the state, the federal government, and of course any employees that were/are affected," the person wrote. That Reddit thread also included the text of an employee email allegedly sent internally to Rutledge and executive VP of network operations Scott Weber. "I am writing this mail under utter displeasure in the way Charter is treating its employees," the email said. "As you are aware of the spread of coronavirus outbreak here in the United States, Charter is putting us the employees under harm and risk. There are close to 50 confirmed cases here in Colorado and this morning we were told by our leadership at Network Operations that there is no work from home policy and anyone who takes sick leave must produce a doctor's note or else be fired." (Colorado's coronavirus cases rose to 160 by Monday.) "If any of us gets exposed to this at work we will hold you personally accountable," the email also said. "The work we do can be done remotely without any obstacles. We do on-call and work through the nights from home all the time. I do not see a reason why we cannot work remotely during these difficult times." Wheeler concerned about ex-colleagues Update 4:23pm ET: Wheeler spoke to Ars by phone after this article was published, saying he's heard from at least 80 Charter employees who thanked him for sending the email. "I obviously hit a nerve," he said. Wheeler said he's not planning to try to get his job back, as "I feel like I've thoroughly burned that bridge." But he is concerned about his former co-workers. "My immediate concern is is that my former colleagues can work from home. I want the pressure to be on Charter to change their policy for everybody who can work from home," he said. Wheeler sent the email after numerous discussions with co-workers who were also concerned about working in the office during a pandemic, he said. Wheeler said his job and many others in Charter's Colorado offices can be done entirely from home. "All of the systems we work on live in other data centers that are not even in our building," and employee laptops have VPN capability, he said. Charter employees already do a lot of work at home during maintenance windows and heavy snowstorms, he noted. Wheeler said he didn't expect sending the email to lead to his newfound unemployment and that his abrupt dismissal was especially perplexing because Charter managers initially urged him to reconsider his resignation. "I was called into a meeting, following sending the email, and in the heat of that moment, I offered to resign out of protest of the options that I was given," he said. Wheeler said Charter managers told him it wasn't necessary for him to resign but that "If you still want to do that on Monday, then we'll accept your resignation." "That was all turned around an hour and a half later, and they accepted a resignation that I'm not sure was necessarily on the table anymore," Wheeler said. "I was prepared for the consequences of sending that email, but I really didn't think it would come down to that," Wheeler also said. "It's a silly thing to get rid of somebody over at this stage in the game." We also learned from a source at Charter that one team of workers within the company's customer operations division was given permission to work at home late yesterday. But as far as we know, the rest of the company's workers still face the rules outlined in Rutledge's post. Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica. Source: Charter engineer quits over “reckless” rules against work-from-home (Ars Technica)
  6. A group of 23 law professors are warning that a recent recommendation from a Colorado magistrate judge opens the door to unprecedented piracy liability risks. In addition to threatening Charter and other Internet providers, customers could be faced with privacy-invasive monitoring and permanent disconnections. In March several major music companies sued Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US with 22 million subscribers. Helped by the RIAA, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, and others accused Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. Among other things, they argued that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them. As such, it is liable for both contributory infringement and vicarious liability, the music companies claim. The ISP disagreed and filed a motion at a Colorado federal court, asking it to dismiss the vicarious liability claims. Charter argues that it doesn’t directly profit from copyright-infringing subscribers, nor does it have the ability to control them. Previously, other Internet providers have been successful in getting vicarious infringement claims dropped, but Charter’s case appears to go in the other direction. Last month Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty recommended the court to deny the motion to dismiss. According to the Judge, Charter’s “failure to stop or take other action in response to notices of infringement is a draw to current and prospective subscribers to purchase and use Defendant’s internet service to ‘pirate’ Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.” Charter objected to this recommendation and hopes that the court will not accept it. The company fears that this will subject the company, and pretty much all other ISPs, to a wide range of piracy liability claims. They are not alone in this assessment. Yesterday, a group of 23 copyright law professors submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the company. According to the legal scholars from prominent institutions including Harvard and Stanford, the recommendation would set a dangerous precedent. The copyright professors point out that, based on the complaint, it can’t be concluded that Charter enjoyed direct financial benefits from the alleged infringements, as vicarious liability prescribes. Vicarious liability requires ISPs’ actions to serve as a “draw” to potential infringers. However, the professors argue that this isn’t the case here. Instead, the potential to use Charter to pirate should be seen as an “added benefit.” The draw, in this case, is access to the entire Internet, with the potential to pirate being an added benefit. “Access to this universe of content and services is the draw for subscribers, and the use by some subscribers of some portion of that service to download infringing material can only plausibly be seen as an added benefit of the service. “This is especially true with ISPs, like Charter, because subscribers pay the same flat monthly rate for a particular level of service irrespective of whether, or how often, they infringe,” the professors add. The Judge’s recommendation fails to properly make this distinction according to the professors. Neither does it show the necessary causal link between infringements and the financial benefit. As a result, it would expose Charter and other ISPs to “unprecedented risks of liability.” The fact that Charter advertises “blazing-fast” speeds that allow users to download “just about anything” efficiently is not relevant either. According to the professors, these features are valued by all Internet users whether they engage in infringement or not. “The Recommendation’s misapplication of the direct financial benefit analysis would cause considerable harm to other ISPs, consumers, and the public,” they write. Blazing-fast The immediate threat to ISPs is more lawsuits where dozens of millions of dollars in damages are at stake. If the recommendation stands, providers would have a hard time defending them. In addition, many would have to change their piracy policies, which could hurt consumer privacy. In order to avoid vicarious liability claims, Charter and others would have to be more active against potential repeat infringers. This could lead to more Internet terminations and possible monitoring of legitimate users, the professors warn. “Consumers, whether they personally engage in infringing conduct or not, could be subject to wholesale termination of their Internet access based on unproven allegations of infringement occurring at the IP address through which they connect to the Internet. “Moreover, ISPs could be forced to engage in privacy-invasive monitoring of their subscribers’ Internet activity,” they add. The brief explains that ISPs that don’t host any content should pass all Internet traffic along in a neutral manner. These companies should not be forced to become copyright enforcers based on mere allegations. Based on the above, the copyright law professors urge the court not to adopt the Magistrate Judge’s recommendations. First, however, the court must decide whether it will accept the brief and add it to the record. Given what’s at stake, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see submissions from more third-parties on this matter in the coming days. A copy of the professors’ amicus curiae brief, which has yet to be accepted, is available here (pdf). source
  7. Charter Communications and a group of prominent record labels are continuing to go head to head in court. The ISP has filed a new reply in support of its motion to dismiss the vicarious copyright infringement liability claims it faces. Charter argues that, unlike the labels claim, its advertisements for high speed Internet access are not catered towards pirates. In March several major music companies sued Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US with 22 million subscribers. Helped by the RIAA, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, and others accused Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. Among other things, they argued that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them. The labels sued the ISP for two types of secondary liability for copyright infringement; contributory infringement and vicarious liability. While Charter is confident that both claims will ultimately fail, it asked the Court to dismiss the latter claim before trial. The music companies previously claimed that Charter is vicariously liable. To prove this, the rightsholders must show that allegedly-infringing material serves as a “draw” to subscribe to Charter’s Internet service. In addition, they must show that Charter can control the infringing activity. According to the labels, this is the case. Among other things, they argued that Charter’s adverts for “high speed” downloads were seen as a draw. In addition, the ISP could control piracy on its network, by terminating repeat infringers. In a response submitted this week, Charter counters these arguments. With regard to the supposed “draw,” the ISP states that there has to be a causal connection between the financial benefit and the infringing activity. According to Charter, there is no plausible claim that suggests that subscribers specifically picked the company to carry out their piracy activities. The fact that Charter advertises high-speed Internet is irrelevant in this case, as that’s what pretty much every ISP does. On top of that, high-speed Internet is also beneficial to all sorts of legal activity. “It can safely be presumed that most, if not all, ISPs market the speed of their service, and there is of course nothing nefarious about doing so, as it is required for all manner of online activities. Plaintiffs can point to nothing to suggest that Charter’s ads are specifically targeted at would be infringers,” Charter writes. “Moreover, Plaintiffs do not allege that the advertised speeds are meaningfully faster than Charter’s competitors or that those faster speeds somehow drew subscribers to Charter’s service (over others) to infringe. If Plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient, every ISP would face exposure for merely advertising the speed of its internet service.” In addition to refuting the “draw” claims, Charter also stresses that, even if it wanted to, it can’t control the infringing activities of its users. The labels previously argued that the ISP does have control, as it can terminate the accounts of repeat infringers, but Charter stresses once again that this doesn’t stop piracy. “The technology that allegedly facilitates the transfer of infringing material is BitTorrent and other P2P file sharing protocols. Charter cannot control BitTorrent or other P2P technology, nor do Plaintiffs allege as much. Terminating a user’s internet service does not preclude that user from continuing to use BitTorrent or other P2P websites. “Rather than target the allegedly infringing P2P platforms themselves, Plaintiffs instead attempt to support a highly attenuated theory of liability,” Charter adds. It is clear that both parties have a completely different view on the matter of piracy liability. It is now up to the Colorado District Court to decide which side makes the most sense. A copy of Charter’s reply in support of its motion to dismiss plaintiffs claim for vicarious liability is available here (pdf). VIEW: Original Article.
  8. As part of the deal allowing cable companies Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones for their respective mobile services, Apple has required them to also sell large numbers of other devices, reports CNBC. Both Comcast and Charter have wireless services as part of an MVNO agreement with Verizon. Comcast offers Xfinity Mobile with approximately 1.5 million subscribers, while Charter offers Spectrum Mobile with approximately 300,000 subscribers. The two cable companies wanted to be able to offer the iPhone in an effort to better compete with the four major carriers in the United States -- Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile -- and as part of the deal allowing Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones, Apple made them agree to sell other devices too. The iPhone's popularity made it impossible for Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile to compete without offering it, according to CNBC's sources, which meant Apple had "ample leverage" in deal negotiations. Specific terms of the two deals are not known, but Comcast is required to sell a certain number of iPads, which CNBC says is in the thousands, at a subsidized cost. Comcast is required to pay the difference between the discounted price and the retail price. Comcast offers the cellular 6th-generation iPad for $422.99, a discount from the standard $459 price. Comcast also sells cellular versions of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Air, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, all at discounted prices. Subscribers are promised a $15 per month credit applied to their monthly statement for any iPad purchased. Charter's deal is different and involves the Apple TV, which Charter offers as an alternative to a traditional cable box. Charter sells Apple TVs at $7.50 per month for 24 months - or $180, the retail cost of an Apple TV. Alternatively, a customer can lease a Charter set-top box for $7.50 per month. In other words, Charter offers an Apple TV at the same price as a Charter set-top box, but a customer ends up owning the Apple TV and returning the Charter box. Charter has become the largest third-party seller of Apple TVs because of the agreement, two of the people said. According to CNBC, there are benefits in these deals for Comcast and Charter beyond being able to offer the iPhone. iPads and Apple Watches "enhance the value" of the Comcast wireless service, and the Apple TV offers a better navigation interface for Charter customers. Many of Apple's carrier partners around the world also sell Apple devices other the iPhone, much like Charter and Comcast. Source
  9. Terminating Subscribers Doesn’t Stop Pirates, Charter Argues Charter Communications has responded to the piracy liability lawsuit filed by a group of prominent record labels. The ISP filed a motion at a Colorado federal court, asking it to dismiss the vicarious liability claims. Charter argues that it doesn't directly profit from copyright-infringing subscribers, nor does it have the ability to control them. Regular Internet providers are being put under increasing pressure for not doing enough to curb copyright infringement. Music rights company BMG got the ball rolling a few years ago when it won its piracy liability lawsuit against Cox. Following on the heels of this case, several major record labels including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, hopped onto the bandwagon. Helped by the RIAA, they went after ISP Grande Communications and, more recently, Charter Communications. The labels accuse Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. They argue that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them. A few days ago Charter responded to these allegations. The company denies that it plays an active role in any infringing activities and believes the labels’ arguments are flawed. “This suit is the latest effort in the music industry’s campaign to hold Internet Service Providers (‘ISPs’) liable for copyright infringement, allegedly carried out by internet subscribers, for merely providing internet access,” Charter states. The labels sued the ISP for two types of secondary liability for copyright infringement; contributory infringement and vicarious liability. While Charter believes that both claims will fail, it has submitted a motion to dismiss only the latter. In its motion Charter notes that, in order for a vicarious liability claim to succeed, the labels must show that the ISP profited directly from copyright infringements that it had both a right and ability to control. This is not the case, the ISP notes. “Plaintiffs fail to allege a plausible causal connection between any alleged direct infringement and the subscription fees received by Charter,” the motion reads “For example, Plaintiffs do not allege that infringers specifically chose Charter over other providers so they could infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrights, or that other ISPs were terminating subscribers, leading them to seek out Charter as a safe haven.” In addition, the ISP points out that it doesn’t operate a file-sharing service, nor does it promote BitTorrent, or receive compensation for any file-sharing services. Instead, it merely charges a flat fee from its subscribers for which it provides Internet access. The labels argued that the ISP offers a tiered pricing structure, charging higher fees for higher downloading speeds. However, Charter notes that this isn’t in any way catered to pirates. People who consume legal media also benefit from higher speeds, after all. “Plaintiffs do not, and cannot, allege that those who illegally download music want faster speeds than those who do so legally, much less than those who download considerably larger movie or other files,” Charter writes. “Such allegations would be implausible, as subscribers paying for higher tiers of service for lawful uses want to download content just as fast as those doing so illegally.” Charter stresses that there is no evidence that it directly profits from copyright infringement. In addition, it doesn’t have a right and ability to control any infringements either, which negates another element of vicarious liability. The labels argued that the ISP has control over the infringements, as it can terminate the Internet accounts of repeat infringers. However, Charter counters that this doesn’t prevent subscribers from continuing to pirate elsewhere. “Charter cannot monitor and control its subscribers’ use of the internet, and its ability to terminate subscribers altogether does not prevent them from committing acts of infringement from other connections,” Charter notes. Charter adds that it can’t monitor and control its subscribers’ use of the Internet, while adding that peer-to-peer file sharing protocols can be used for both infringing and non-infringing purposes. All in all the ISP sees terminations as an overbroad and imprecise measure. “Plaintiffs’ termination remedy suffers from ‘imprecision and overbreadth’ based on the inability to confirm allegations in a notice, the extremity of the measure, and the failure to halt infringing activity from another source,” Charter adds. Based on these and other arguments Charter asks the court to dismiss the vicarious liability claim. That would still leave the contributory infringement claim intact, but the ISP is confident that it can deal with this at a later stage. In addition to the suit against Charter, the record labels also sued its subsidiary Bright House for the same alleged offenses in a Florida court. Bright House responded to this lawsuit with a near identical motion to dismiss. Both motions are now with the respective courts, which will at a later stage decide whether to dismiss the claims or not. Source
  10. Music Companies Sue Charter For Turning a Blind Eye to Piracy A group of major music publishing companies has sued Charter Communications for failing to take action against its pirating subscribers. The music companies state that the Internet provider deliberately turned a blind eye to pirating subscribers, while at the same time profiting from their activities. Yesterday, we reported that a group of music industry giants, including Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros, have sued Internet provider Bright House Networks for failing to disconnect pirating subscribers. While that lawsuit was filed in Florida, the same companies also filed a complaint against Charter Communications in a Colorado District Court. The cases and the underlying accusations are very similar, which is no surprise as Charter acquired Bright House in 2016. Under US law, providers must terminate the accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances” and Charter failed to do so, according to the music publishers. Specifically, the ISP is accused of ignoring repeat infringers on its network, which it continued to serve as customers. “It is well-established law that a party may not assist someone it knows is engaging in copyright infringement. Further, when a party has a direct financial interest in the infringing activity, and the right and practical ability to stop or limit it, that party must act,” the complaint reads. “Ignoring and flouting those basic responsibilities, Charter deliberately turned a blind eye to its subscribers’ infringement. Charter failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers of which it was aware.” As highlighted by Ars Technica, the music companies allege that the ISP’s high-speed Internet service was used to lure customers who could use it to facilitate their infringing activities. Specifically, the complaint states that Charter was “advertising its high-speed Internet services in Colorado to serve as a draw for subscribers who sought faster download speeds to facilitate their direct and repeated infringements.” These allegations are not new and have been made against other ISPs in the past, including the aforementioned Bright House, but also Grande Communications and Cox Communications. These ISPs provide an “attractive tool” and “safe haven” for pirates, according to the music companies. As such, they should not be entitled to “safe harbor” protection under the DMCA, it is argued. This was also the conclusion of the Texas District Court earlier this month, which ruledthat Grande Communications failed to adopt and reasonably implement a repeat infringer policy. Charter will likely face similar allegations going forward. The complaint that was just filed provides several examples of “repeat infringers,” including some subscribers for which the ISP received hundreds of infringement notices. According to the music companies, it is clear that Charter intentionally ignored these repeated copyright infringements. As such, they believe that the ISP is liable for both contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. As compensation for the claimed losses, the companies demand statutory or actual damages, as well as coverage for their attorney fees and other costs. This could potentially run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Source
×
×
  • Create New...