Frontier Sued by Recording Studios over “Rampant” Copyright Infringement

A complaint filed in the Southern District of New York by various music producers and distributors on Tuesday accused Frontier Communications Corporation of thousands of counts of copyright infringement, alleging that Frontier enabled its subscribers to illegally download music without any retribution.

The fifteen plaintiff companies are referred to as the Universal, Sony and Warner Plaintiffs respectively, all of whom “produce, manufacture, distribute, sell, and license commercial sound recordings, both in the United States and internationally.” The plaintiffs joined each other in this lawsuit as they allegedly have all been damaged by Frontier’s enabling and turning a blind eye to illegal music downloads powered by Frontier’s Internet service.

Frontier is one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, having 3.5 million subscribers as of 2019. The complaint alleged that subscribers used the high speed network to “illegally download and distribute” the plaintiffs music and sound recordings, even after receiving “hundreds of thousands of copyright infringement notices” from copyright holders. Representatives of the plaintiffs have sent over 20,000 copyright infringement notices to Frontier, which fully complied with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, yet they allegedly were not acted upon. The plaintiffs are suing on the counts of Contributory Copyright Infringement and Vicarious Copyright Infringement of 2,856 works.

The plaintiffs are UMG Recordings, Inc., Capitol Records, LLC, ABKCO Music & Records, Inc. Sony Music Entertainment, Arista Music, Arista Records LLC, Sony Music Entertainment US Latin, and Zomba Recording LLC, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Elektra Entertainment Group Inc., Lava Records LLC, Rhino Entertainment LLC, Warner Music Inc., Warner Music International Services Limited, and Warner Records Inc.

The Universal, Sony and Warner Plaintiffs are seeking declaration that Frontier willfully violated the Plaintiff’s copyrighted sound recordings, a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Frontier, statutory damages, a full report on Frontier’s profits from allowing the copyright infringement to occur, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiffs are represented by Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP.

In a statement provided to Law Street, a spokesperson for Frontier said “Frontier is not alleged to have done anything directly to infringe any copyright owner’s rights, and in fact has terminated many customers about whom copyright owners have complained.  Frontier believes that it has done nothing wrong and will vigorously defend itself.”