The legal battle between Cox Communications and major labels UMG, Sony Music, and WMG isn’t ending anytime soon.
The ongoing lawsuit, which centers on Cox’s liability (or lack thereof) for its users’ illegal downloads of copyrighted music, began in 2015. The major label plaintiffs were initially awarded $25 million by a jury, though this ruling was subsequently overturned by an appeals court.
However, this initial success prompted the record labels’ lawyers to continue fighting, and now, the long and expensive dispute has spanned nearly half a decade.
Last week, it seemed that the matter would finally be put to rest. Cox had a settlement meeting arranged with the record labels, but Cox attorneys decided to cancel negotiations at the last second. The plaintiffs’ legal team, which had long been preparing for this meeting, was predictably upset, and their court filings indicated as much. The RIAA, which represents the big three labels, blasted Cox for “a consistent pattern of obstruction, delay, and gamesmanship”.
With this latest development, it seems unlikely that any sort of agreement will be made in the near future.
Cox Communications is a Georgia-based broadband provider and subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. Cox Enterprises, a privately owned conglomerate, reported earnings of more than $20 billion in 2018. The company employs over 55,000 individuals, and based upon these points, it can be stated with confidence that the company possesses the resources to take on leading record companies — even if the battle proceeds for another five years.
Legal experts have indicated that this seemingly complex and detailed case boils down to a single, all-important question: Is Cox liable for the downloading habits of its users?
Needless to say, opinions that support each side of the argument have been voiced, with both parties are insisting they’re right. It appears that the fight will continue to drag on, but perhaps agreeing to a settlement meeting, even if the meeting did fall through, is a step in the right direction.