- Music labels are back to targeting ISPs, and Frontier Communications is the one to find itself at the epicenter this time.
- The rightsholders demand the awarding of compensation of up to $428 million for 2,856 infringements.
- The ISP is accused of knowingly allowing piracy in its customer base, making significant profits as a result.
Internet service provider ‘Frontier Communications’ is being sued by a group of major music record labels for continuing to offer its services to subscribers who have repeatedly shared pirated content online. According to the legal complaint, Frontier has chosen to maintain a very lenient stance in cases of this kind, letting persistent pirates operate unobstructively and cause significant financial damages to the rightsholders as a result.
At the same time, Frontier is allegedly enjoying a favorable market position precisely because of this policy, as users know that they will be able to engage in whatever activities they wish if they pick Frontier as their provider. This is very similar to the allegations made against Cox Communications back in the 2018 case, and many of the companies that were pushing the lawsuit forward back then are the same that target Frontier today.
The group includes UMG, Sony Music, Warner Music, Elektra Entertainment, Atlantic, and Capitol Records. Their lawsuit alleges that Frontier has knowingly contributed to piracy and reaped substantial profits from the massive copyright infringement that goes on through its customer base. As it's also mentioned, Frontier has received multiple notices from the plaintiffs in previous years but failed to adequately respond to any of them.
The lawsuit presents 2,856 cases of copyright infringement since May 1, 2021, after Frontier received the aforementioned notices and had plenty of time to respond. The pleading to the court is to consider awarding statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each of these cases, which takes the total amount to the astronomic figure of $428,400,000. In addition to this, the plaintiffs demand the coverage of litigation costs and attorney fees. And finally, injunctions are also included in the lawsuit demands.
A spokesperson of Frontier has shared the following comment with TorrentFreak:
Frontier is not alleged to have done anything directly to infringe any copyright owner’s rights, and in fact, has terminated many customers about whom copyright owners have complained. Frontier believes that it has done nothing wrong and will vigorously defend itself.
This indicates that Frontier isn’t willing to accept these accusations and will fight the music labels in court. As such, seeing a settlement agreement is highly unlikely too.
The case is handled by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, and the demand is trial by jury. It will be an interesting case with the potential to create a very significant judiciary precedent, so we’ll be following up with future posts on the case as soon as it moves forward.