‘Grande Communications’ Sued by Movie Studios Coalition Over Failure to Stop Pirates

By Bill Toulas / August 17, 2021

Another internet service provider is finding itself at the crosshairs of movie studios for failure to do enough to tackle piracy among its customer base. As reported by TorrentFreak, a group of 32 film producers has submitted an official complaint against ‘Grande Communications,’ alleging contributory copyright infringement and demanding a trial by jury.

The ISP is accused of letting its subscribers use BitTorrent without any restrictions, not terminating repeat infringers who have been confirmed to engage in high-volume illegal data sharing, and generally ignoring the plaintiffs’ reports.

The complaint even alleges that the main operator of the YTS website uses an IP address provided by ‘Grande Communications,’ as are several BitTorrent users who are seeding heavily downloaded films and series. In some cases, a single IP address was confirmed to have distributed thousands of copies of movies that belong to the plaintiffs, like ‘Rambo V: Last Blood,’ ‘Angel Has Fallen,’ and ‘Hellboy.’

The plaintiffs have repeatedly asked Grande Communications to just terminate the accounts of these subscribers, but the ISP allegedly hasn’t. Moreover, the rightsholders have asked the internet provider to block sites such as YTS, 1337x, and The Pirate Bay, and also to deploy blocking measures against any proxies of these notorious pirate locations. Still, this request has been met with the same nonconformance. In the complaint, the plaintiffs list thousands of notices to the defendant, which were all disregarded.

As such, taking the legal path was the only way out of this deadlock, and now the plaintiffs seek to gain a permanent enjoining order, the enforcement of the adoption of a new policy around the suspension of service for pirating subscribers, the awarding of actual damages from copyright infringement, and the coverage of litigation costs and attorney fees. Also, the plaintiffs demand the disclosure of the identities of the subscribers hiding behind the IP addresses that had the most prolific data-sharing activities, possibly to launch legal actions against them too.

Grande Communications isn’t new to this kind of pressure, as the Texas-based telco faced similar trouble back in January 2019, when a group of music labels pushed them on the ropes. The particular ISP isn’t very open to accepting instructions on how to operate from third parties and puts the privacy and freedom of its subscribers very high. This has brought legal trouble upon it, so they’re used to storms, but it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll handle this one.

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