ISP Accuses Copyright Enforcer of Deleting Vital Evidence in Piracy Liability Lawsuit

A Texas-based internet service provider is seeking to invalidate unfulfilled copyright infringement notices brought against it by anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp. The ISP is claiming that the latter has destroyed information related to the notices, making it impossible to determine whether the claims of copyright infringement are accurate.

Internet service provider Grande Communications is under a lot of pressure and could be charged more than a billion dollars in damages. The ISP is currently battling record labels in court, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music. The labels are claiming that the ISP has ignored and failed to terminate the accounts of repeat copyright infringers.

The labels are counting on Rightscorp’s billion-strong database of copyright infringement notices. Grande, however, is arguing that the notices should not be used against it, as the anti-piracy outfit has deletes crucial evidence, namely, the destruction of “all of the evidence necessary to determine how the Rightscorp system operated at any given time relevant to this lawsuit.”

In doing so, Grande is arguing, Rightscorp has compromised “Grande’s ability to independently evaluate the accuracy of the process, notices and downloads.” In response, Grande’s attorneys have submitted a motion for evidentiary sanctions based on the reported “spoliation” of evidence and requested that the court excludes all of the evidence submitted by Rightscorp from the trial, something which would significantly weaken the case brought against it by the labels.

It must be noted that the deleted information includes “communications with torrent trackers, data that show if customers were actively sharing certain files, and data that was used to match downloads to copyrighted works,” according to TorrentFreak.

Rightscorp’s Shady Record

Rightscorp’s database had proven to be invaluable for copyright holders. A few years ago, music rights company BMG used Rightscorp’s notices as the basis for its piracy liability lawsuit against Cox Communications. BMG won the case, but the anti-piracy outfit was found guilty of destroying source code, which resulted in a monetary fine.

Now if the court agrees with Grande’s appeal, it would set an important precedent, making the rules and requirements around using notices as evidence much more stringent in future cases.