Are Internet Access Providers Liable for Their Subscribers’ Copyright Infringements?–UMG v. Grande

By 2018, you’d think it would be clear when Internet access providers (I HATE the term “ISP”) are liable for user-committed copyright infringements. After all, the 1995 Netcom case discussed Netcom’s functions as an IAP, and the DMCA in 1998 codified aspects of Netcom and included the 512(a) safe harbor specifically protecting IAPs. Furthermore, some IAPs “voluntarily” adopted the “Copyright Alert System,” a six-strikes system based on incidents of P2P copyright infringement, and you’d think that would satisfy the copyright owners (though the CAS failed, as expected). Yet, here we are, still wrangling with this question 20+ years later. Indeed, last month’s troubling BMG v. Cox decision showed how many questions remain unanswered about IAPs’ liability for user-caused copyright infringement. Grande is an IAP which has, like all IAPs, BitTorrent-using subscribers. UMG claims its…

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