Stein Mitchell willfully wins $46.8 million in copyright

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 7, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stone Mitchell is pleased to announce that a federal jury in Austin, Texas, on behalf of Stein Mitchell clients Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, has entered a $46.8 million preliminary copyright infringement judgment against Internet service provider Grande Communications liked.

Stein Mitchell filed the lawsuit in April 2017 on behalf of plaintiffs, which span the three major record labels. The verdict was returned on November 3, 2022, and the case was tried alongside co-counsel Jenner & Block and Scott Douglass McConnico.

The record labels alleged that Grande was liable for the contributory copyright infringement by providing internet service to known repeat infringer subscribers, ignoring over a million notices of copyright infringement for seven years, and never terminating or otherwise taking action against repeat infringers even if Grande had done so Received hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of notifications about specific customers.

In more than five hard-fought years, Stein Mitchell denied Grande’s motion to dismiss the contributory infringement claim; conducted an extensive document search with over a million documents created; took and defended 40 statements; defeated Grande’s motion for summary judgment and daubert movements; and obtained summary judgment against Grande’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) alleged “safe harbor” defense. Several of the court’s pre-trial decisions have been cited as precedents in later cases.

After a nearly month-long trial, the jury found Grande to be partially responsible for the infringement of 1,403 record company copyrighted sound recordings. The jury also found that Grande acted with intent and was therefore liable for increased statutory damages under copyright law and awarded the plaintiffs $33,333.33 for each of the infringed recordings, for a total of $46,766,200.

Announcing the win, Mitch Glazier, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), stated: This is the latest confirmation from US courts and grand juries that an unproven online violation has no standing. The strong action of the jury sends an important message to internet service providers. Artists, songwriters, rights holders, fans and legitimate services all depend on a healthy digital music ecosystem that effectively protects creative works online.

The case is UMG Recordings, Inc., et al. v Grande Communications Networks, LLC, No. 17-cv-365-DAE, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. Stein Mitchell’s experimental team was led by Robert Gilmore, Philip O’Beirne and Kevin Attridge. Stein Mitchell’s managing partner, Jonathan Missner, played a significant role throughout the case, as did Michael Petrino. Jacqueline Lau, Andrew Lee, Jonathan Zischkau and Cesar Gonzales also contributed to the effort.

Further information on the case will be made available at Mitchell’s Stein website.

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