Cox Communications will face a difficult time with industry leaders like the RIAA and MPAA against them.
Back in December 2015, a federal jury in Virginia ruled against Cox Communications. The ruling held Cox Communication liable for users in their networking pirating illegal content. The company faced $25 million in damages in willful contributory copyright infringement. Industry copyright leaders, including the RIAA and MPAA, cheered the decision. Yet, as expected, Cox filed an appeal several weeks ago.
In their appeal, Cox claimed that the court made several “reversible errors.” The ISP argued,
“Cox’s Internet service has endless legal uses, and BMG failed to prove either that Cox actually knew of specific infringing acts by specific subscribers or that it took active steps to promote infringement.”
Thus, the court removed the ISP’s safe harbor protection. However, the company explained the consequences for consumers, should the ruling stand.
“If allowed to stand, that judgment would force ISPs to terminate subscribers’ Internet access—and with it access to critical information, e-commerce, and entertainment—based on the say-so of third parties. This Court should reverse.”
In addition, several industry associations, academic institutions, libraries, and digital rights groups backed the appeal.
Now, copyright industry groups, including the RIAA, the MPAA, and the Copyright Alliance rallied behind BMG. They filed paperwork defending BMG, who first introduced the lawsuit against Cox Communications. According to TorrentFreak, they submitted roughly around 150 pages defending BMG.
Copyright groups argue that Cox shouldn’t enjoy safe harbor protection since they failed to “disconnect repeat infringers.” In addition, the MPAA stressed that the District Court made the right decision. Groups can’t handle online piracy without the proper legal tools.
“Online piracy accounts for a full quarter of all internet traffic costs the entertainment industry tens of billions of dollars per year.
Under the DMCA, ISPs must have a policy to disconnect persistent piraters. However, both copyright groups and ISPs like Cox differ on the correct interpretation. According to the RIAA and MPAA, a different interpretation shouldn’t exist. Furthermore, Cox’s interpretation ultimately allows for what the RIAA calls an “unworkable situation.”
“Under Cox’s interpretation, copyright owners would be forced to launch…multiple lawsuits against every individual infringer…to obtain the benefit of ISP repeat-infringer policies.
Ultimately, however, federal courts will have to decide which interpretation truly stands.