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Grande asks judge to overturn $46.8 million ruling in copyright dispute with the major labels

By | Published on Monday 6 March 2023

Grande Communications

US internet service provider Grande Communications has, somewhat unsurprisingly, called on the judge overseeing a copyright case in which it was ordered to pay the major record companies $46.8 million in damages to overturn that ruling or instigate a new trial.

Grande – which rebranded as Astound Broadband last year – was one of the American ISPs sued by the music industry for not doing enough to combat infringement and infringers on its networks.

As with the precedent setting legal battle in this domain – against Cox Communications – the record companies argued that Grande did not do enough to deal with repeat infringers among its customer base to avoid liability for its users’ infringement via the copyright safe harbour.

Last year a jury ordered Grande to pay the labels the $46.8 million in damages in relation to the 1400 tracks which the music companies said had been distributed across the ISP’s networks without licence.

In a new legal filing submitted to the court last week, Grande say that the judge overseeing the case should overturn that ruling as a matter of law, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s decision.

The labels, they argue, failed to provide sufficient evidence that the 1400 tracks in question had been infringed on its networks; that Grande was wilfully blind to the direct infringement of their copyrights; that Grande contributed to that infringement; that separate statutory damages were due on each and every track; or that they even owned the copyright in the 1400 recordings.

With that in mind, the ISP reckons, the judge should set aside the jury’s decision, or at least call for a retrial. If he doesn’t – and it seems unlikely that he will – Grande is expected to then take the matter to the Fifth Circuit appeals court.