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Internet firm wants RIAA held liable for alleged dodgy takedowns

By | Published on Friday 28 August 2020

Bright House

Former US internet service provider Bright House Networks wants to hold trade group the Recording Industry Association Of America and anti-piracy agency MarkMonitor liable for the alleged issuing of dodgy takedown requests, as well as the labels that they were working for.

Bright House, now a subsidiary of Charter Communications, is one of the ISPs that has been sued by the US record industry for copyright infringement. Citing the precedents set in the music industry’s legal battles with Cox Communications, the labels argue that Bright House had deliberately shoddy systems for dealing with infringement and infringers on its network, and should therefore not enjoy safe harbour protection from liability for the unlicensed sharing and downloading of music by its users.

The lawsuit filed by the labels is ongoing. But last month Bright House fired back with its own claims against the labels. It accused the record companies of issuing takedown requests against the ISP for music that they didn’t actually own. And that, the net firm added, violates the rules that cover takedown notices in the safe harbour section of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Bright House is by no means the first company facing a copyright lawsuit from the music industry to push back with some dodgy takedown claims. The record companies generally deny those claims, portraying them as a distraction tactic employed by technology and internet companies that know they don’t have any real defence for the copyright infringement they enabled.

Either way, Bright House’s counterclaims against the record industry continue to work their way through the motions. And, according to Torrentfreak, in its latest legal filing the ISP has said that the RIAA and MarkMonitor should be liable for the dodgy takedowns too, as well as the major record companies that are behind the original lawsuit.

That’s on the basis that the trade group and anti-piracy firm handled the takedown process for the labels. “The RIAA and MarkMonitor are central to plaintiffs’ wrongful conduct”, Bright House told the court. “Bright House received copyright infringement notices containing material misrepresentations from the RIAA, purporting to assert the rights of plaintiffs but sent by MarkMonitor”.

Technically Bright House has missed to the deadline for adding extra defendants to its counterclaim against the record industry, but it wants permission from the court to include them anyway. It remains to be seen whether the court complies. And, if so, how the RIAA and MarkMonitor respond.