In one sense, lawsuits by music rightsholders against ISPs around the music-piracy habits of their customers feel like a relic from The Bad Years of our industry’s recent history. Actually, though, they’ve been a factor throughout the streaming era, in the background.

The latest example sees 17 labels (including all three majors) suing American ISP RCN Corporation alleging that it enabled large-scale copyright infringement by its customers, and made “substantial profits” to boot. The lawsuit is based on data from anti-piracy firm Rightscorp, which was also involved in a famous previous case with ISP Cox Communications.

“Defendants have received more than five million notices that RCN’s customers were using RCN’s internet services to engage in infringement of copyrighted works including tens of thousands of blatant infringements by repeat infringers,” claims the RCN lawsuit. The ISP has yet to comment in response.

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