US Judge Orders Cox Communications to Pay BMG $8.4 Million

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A US District Court judge has now ordered Cox Communications to pay $8.4 million in fees.  That follows an earlier, $25 million judgment for copyright abuse.

More bad news for Cox Communications.  After getting dismantled in a copyright case by litigants BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music, the ISP is now facing another setback.  In a decision stamped February 14th by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Cox has now been ordered to pay $8.4 million in legal fees.

The order, signed by US District judge Liam O’Grady, was shared with Digital Music News this morning (full decision below).

The fees are considered high, and courts frequently decide against compensating litigants for legal fees.  In this case, O’Grady offered the hefty fine in part to enforce anti-piracy statutes.

‘Deeply flawed DMCA Defense’

“In a hard-fought litigation battle such as this one, discovery disputes and fierce briefing are to be expected,” O’Grady opined.  “They should not be held too harshly against either party.”

“Nonetheless, there are a few instances in which Cox’s advocacy crossed the line of objective reasonableness.  In particular, both Cox’s attempts to obscure its practice of reinstating infringing customers, and its subsequent assertions of a deeply flawed DMCA defense evince a meritless litigation position that Cox vigorously defended.”

Also working behind the scenes on this was Rightscorp, an anti-piracy firm that enforces copyrights for rights owners like BMG.  Rightscorp was instrumental in issuing massive DMCA takedown notices to Cox Communications, many of which were either ignored or treated casually.

In the latter case, Cox Communications was found to be repeatedly reinstating serious copyright violators.  In many cases, large-scale copyright infringers were high-paying customers, and therefore treated leniently.

Across numerous internal emails, Cox executives were found to be routinely circumventing DMCA notices and issuing mild penalties.  Or, merely applying limited measures while abusing loopholes in the anti-piracy statute.

At one stage, a Cox executive proclaimed, ‘f–k the DMCA!’

The $8.4 million decision follows a $25 million judgement for willful copyright infringement against the ISP in late 2015.  That decision remains under appeal, though major compliance changes have likely already occurred.

The full order can be found here.

4 Responses

  1. Will Buckley

    Things continue to heat up on DMCA reform. After years, decades of flying under the radar, the flaws in how the internet operates finally became apparent to their entire base during the Presidential Election.

    Fake News, Russian Hacking, social media manipulation, Wikileaks…..

    Now we have the terrorist ad scandal with Google Ad services and YouTube. And then there’s the earliest wide spread scandal believed and supported by an entire generation.

    Internet Piracy.