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ISP accused of letting customers get away with piracy slapped with lawsuit

An internet service provider (ISP) in the US has been accused of deliberately failing to crack down on customers who were pirating copyrighted content.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has claimed that Texas-based Grande Communications knew that its customers had “engaged in more than one million infringements of copyrighted works”, but refused to terminate their accounts “despite their knowledge of repeat infringements”, in order to generate more revenue, TorrentFreak reports.

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The RIAA initially filed a lawsuit against the ISP last year, but it collapsed when the court found no evidence that Grande Communications would benefit financially from letting pirates off the hook. However, the RIAA has returned with fresh evidence.

The organisation alleges that Grande Communications stopped terminating the accounts of pirate subscribers in 2011, but started doing so again when its initial lawsuit was filed in April 2017.

According to the RIAA, many of Grande Communications’ law-breaking customers were on premium plans, which made them highly valuable to the firm.

“Defendants’ policy of refusing to take meaningful action against repeat infringers… protects a significant revenue stream that Grande receives every month from its many infringing subscribers,” reads the RIAA’s complaint.

“Grande’s infringing customers are largely ‘a la carte’ internet customers, Grande’s most profitable customers by profit margin — a fact that Defendants track and know.”

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What’s more, if the RIAA is able to prove this, it seems unlikely that Grand Communications would be able to fall back on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for protection.

“Grande and Patriot took no meaningful action to discourage this continuing theft, let alone suspend or terminate subscribers who repeatedly commit copyright infringement through its network, as required by law,” the complaint adds.

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