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Labels v Grande court battle postponed

By | Published on Monday 9 March 2020

Grande Communications

The big courtroom battle between the US record industry and internet service provider Grande Communications has been postponed. That was also due to take place in Austin, Texas, but – unlike South By Southwest – it’s not been called off because of coronavirus panic. Rather, both sides in the dispute agreed that their bickering would need more court time than was available this month.

The major labels sued a number of American ISPs after BMG was successful in its lawsuit against Cox Communications. In that legal battle, BMG successfully argued that Cox had a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with infringement and infringers on its networks and, therefore, should not enjoy protection via the copyright safe harbour. That meant that it could be held liable for its users’ copyright infringement.

Cox was among the ISPs the majors then sued, that case resulting in the headline-grabbing billion dollar ruling in the record industry’s favour last year. The labels are hoping for similar success against other net firms like Grande, Charter and RCN. Given the scale of the damages in the Cox case, the other ISPs are desperately hoping that they can distinguish their arguably lacklustre anti-infringement policies from those of their competitor.

Grande was due to be the first test as to whether the precedent seemingly set in the Cox cases could be applied to the other ISPs, and – if so – whether similarly large damages would be won by the labels. The case was set to kick off at the Austin courthouse last week, but it has now been pushed back to September. Both sides reckoned that the six days set aside for their case this month was insufficient, having previously asked for ten days.

According to Torrentfreak, legal reps for both the labels and Grande told the court: “The parties do not believe that six days is an adequate amount of time to try this case. Accordingly, the parties request that the court continue the trial setting and reset it at a time that allows for ten trial days”.

Judge David Ezra formally agreed to the postponement last week, meaning the labels v Grande will now come to court on Wednesday 9 Sep.