Someone Has the Balls to Sue an ISP…

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But didn’t ‘six strikes‘ solve piracy?

Not according to BMG and Round Hill, who allege that Cox Communications has repeatedly refused to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers  and are suing to recover massive damages.  In question are the accounts of paying subscribers that download and/or share a lot of illegally-obtained material on BitTorrent (and typically pay more for better bandwidth).

“Upon purchasing high speed access from Cox, its subscribers and account holders can then access BitTorrent systems and upload and download copyright works from those sites with ease and increasing speed — depending on the level of Cox service that the subscribers select,” the complaint reads.  In other words, Cox provides its account holders with a that allows them to engage in copyright infringement using BitTorrent systems on a massive scale.  And for those account subscribers who want to pirate larger files at faster speeds, Cox obliges them for higher rates.”

“The greater the bandwidth its subscribers require for pirating content, the more money Cox makes.”

And, what’s wrong with that?  Legally speaking, BMG and Round Hill argue that such ‘obliging’ violates Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which clearly states that access providers and sites “must adopt and reasonably implement a policy of terminating in appropriate circumstances the accounts of subscribers who are repeat infringers.”

Rightscorp, which tracked the infringing activity for its clients, found repeated infringements from the same old users.  “By ignoring the repeat infringement notifications and refusing to terminate internet access for repeat infringers, Cox has made an affirmative decision to contribute to known copyright infringement,” the complaint declared.

“They are ineligible for safe harbor immunity from copyright liability under the DMCA.”

The complete complaint is here.


32 Responses

  1. Phil

    What took so long? This seems to make more sense than suing broke college students and grannies.

    • Anonymous

      Haha, exactly what I was going to say…

      It’s incredible that an entire industry is allowed to make fortunes from piracy.

      • Willis

        Zzzzz…where have you guys been? Over a decade ago this idea was batted around, and it was dropped…just like this one will be. Do your research and you’ll understand why this doesn’t have legs.

  2. Justin Mayer / Plum Minnow

    Boys, i aint gonna sue the ISP, i have zero interest in going after ISP’s… I hope that will provide me some good faith when i come knocking, or else i might have to sue them for being complicit, but im certainly not going to tell them how to do their job…

    Its like some asshole comes and steals my running car on the side of the highway while im out taking a piss and then i go and sue the Government cause they own the roads or something??? That doesnt make any sense at all…

    Always they go after the wrong people, who is captaining those ships??? Something weird is going on, who are they being funded by these days??


  3. ExpatBrit

    The sole reason Rightscorp is doing this is they desperately need a high profile case (Not necessarily a win) as they are within a whisker of going bankrupt 🙂 They have lost over 2 million this year alone and in their whole existence have never turned a profit.

    They are as bad as the now discredited Prenda Law and use the same old close to illegal tactics to try to shake down people who aren’t quite up to speed on the law. Also Rightscorp have no balls as the article implies as when a small Texas ISP had real balls and fought back against their illegal DMCA subpeonas Rightscorp attempted to get the case dismissed. Unfortunately for Rightscorp Grande Communications have the real deal between their legs and are now suing Rightscorp for monetary damages and attorney fees.

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, this isn’t 2004…

      ISPs make billions from stolen software, music and movies. Nobody thinks that can go on.

      • Name2

        ISPs make billions whether I’m gaming, facebooking or pirating.

        I say shut down the highway tollbooths.

        • Anonymous

          Not sure what you mean, the ISPs sell stolen software, music and movies to their customers.

    • Sonny C

      “Something weird is going on”

      It is not that weird. Yes Rightscorp needs the publicity but so what? Let the ISP lawyers smack them down if their legal argument is weak.

      This is just business it’s not personal

      • Anonymous

        “Let the ISP lawyers smack them down”

        Hm, exactly how would they do that?

        The ISP knowingly sells huge amounts of stolen Intellectual Property.

        • Sonny C

          I thought ISPs sold internet access. What’s this about ISPs selling stolen intellectual property?

          • Anonymous

            “What’s this about ISPs selling stolen intellectual property?”

            Here’s how it works:

            You’re a well known criminal who wants to buy a lot of stolen Intellectual Property so you find an ISP that doesn’t block organized crime sites; you pay him, and he — knowingly — delivers the illegal content to your address for a fee.

  4. andy

    This is ridiculous, this will set a bad precedent. Whats next suing automotive dealerships for drunk drivers…? and yes that is a good comparison. I buy a car, end of transaction. What i do with it is of no concern to the dealership. I pay for internet, what i do with it is of no consequence to to ISP.

    • ExpatBrit

      That’s exactly what the copywrong industry want Andy. To quote a recent stupid case the people who own the Eiffel Tower in France want to be able to sue people who photograph it at night as they claim that while the tower itself is outside copywrong laws the laser light show is within it and thus they need to be paid by each passerby who takes a photo!

      If you take this absurdity to it’s logical conclusion then if you take a holiday snap and I’m in the background then I can sue you as my dress sense is an artistic work and thus falls under copyright unless I give you written permission to include me lol.

      They aren’t interested in the artiste they are solely interested in getting more money for very little effort as long as the courts and governments worldwide pander to them.

      • Anonymous

        Here’s a suggestion:

        Why don’t you go back to TorrentFreak?

    • doktor audio

      no it’s not a good analogy: you’re leaving out that you have to have a license to drive a car.
      how ridiculously small the effort may be to get one, you still can’t drive without a license and if you do drunk driving, the state will sue you and not some company. during the obtaining process of a license, somebody will tell you that you cannot drink and drive. when you buy a car, you prove that you’re allowed to drive and the car salesperson is off the hook. case closed.

      However, you WILL get sued if somebody else gets caught drunk-driving YOUR car and you cannot prove that he was stealing it from you because you granted him access in the first place. That, actually, is what’s happening here. The ISPs must know that people are downloading illegal content using their service, so it must be made their duty to report or prevent that when they find out. It’s law.

  5. Burn pirate ships

    About time someone did this.
    Under the law, and in exchange for immunity to such cases against them, ISPs have obligations they must fufill to keep their immunity. They were obviously and repeatedly made aware of the infringement taking place on their service, thus they cannot claim ignorance of ‘red flag knowledge’. One might, depending on how they are advertised, get the impression they encourage or promote such activities on their service when they use language such as x-amount of movie/song downloads per hour using x-teir of service (as who other than pirates download movies upon movies all day l ong?).

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Let’s not be naïve here. ISPs understand that a significant percentage of their heaviest-bandwidth users are illegally torrenting, just as Apple knew that ‘Rip, Mix, Burn’ wasn’t really helping the artists at all. Indeed, we’re now living in an era in which piracy is fueling a large range of businesses, ranging from the patently illegal (mp3skull, limewire of old, etc.) to established powerhouses like Google and Apple.

      You could write a book on this.

      • Anonymous

        “You could write a book on this”

        Or you could.

        I’ll still defend Apple, though: It gives (way) more than it takes. But the opposite is true about Google. And the ISPs just don’t give anything back at all.

      • ExpatBrit

        No the most bandwidth is not used by pirates much as the industry would like to say that, it’s used by people streaming movies, music and TV Shows none of which is illegal if you obtain them from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc.

        • Anonymous

          “No the most bandwidth is not used by pirates”

          Paul didn’t say anything of the sort. He said that ISPs are aware “that a significant percentage of their heaviest-bandwidth users are illegally torrenting”.

          And that is true.

          The ISPs deliberately make huge fortunes from stolen software, music and movies.

          • Name2

            Netflix is indeed THE bandwidth-killing app.

            And these things can be, you know, measured. In quantities more precise than “significant” and “heaviest”. So you have to put this argument to bed.

            Resnikoff’s rant in which he tacks Apple and Google on to the list of entities riding the piracy gravy train just comes off like Carrie at the prom.

          • Anonymous

            “Netflix is indeed THE bandwidth-killing app”

            Why do you guys keep repeating that?

            Again, here’s what Paul said: “ISPs understand that a significant percentage of their heaviest-bandwidth users are illegally torrenting.”

            And that is extremely important because it means that ISPs deliberately sell — and profit from — stolen software, music and movies.

          • Name2

            Why do you guys keep repeating that?

            Because we have numbers to back it up, and you’ve just got alcoholic rage?

  6. SJD (

    While I know what it is about, reading the headline made me think about Prenda’s misguided attempt to sue AT&T and Comcast two years ago (using basically the same rhetoric). That crusade ended up in the $250K defeat for the trolls, despite the fact that John Steele is a bearer of big brass ringing balls.

    Similar outcome is going to be here, but in much slower pace.

  7. Suicide Ideation

    Re: Merit of this suit and suing ISPs

    This lawsuit is a good idea.

    As a court reporter of 20 years, I know that judges all have specific legal interests and approaches when it comes to the practice of the law–the case law and case law reasoning they prefer), so you cannot predict how a judge will rule.

    Precedents are essential–the more, the better, and at as many levels as possible (let’s be creative): small-claims courts, even, might be a powerful, cheap, grass-roots ways of getting more traction–they are cheap or free (often, to those with low income), they force the Defendant company to pay expensive lawyer’s fees to defend the case, they are great human interest stories to connect to the public. If they don’t emotionally identify with our goals, they will not get on-board.

    It would be good if many lawsuits against ISPs around the world were made. Eventually you’ll likely get a judge who views things progressively and finds some arcane law still on the books, say, that can be used to advance and/or protect creators’ rights.