Cox, a US cable provider, is being forced to pay BMG $25m in damages after a court dismissed its appeal and upheld the jury’s verdict that the firm failed to act upon on its subscribers’ music piracy.
This week, the Eastern Virginia District Court dismissed Cox's appeal of the verdict, as well as an appeal from BMG to claim further damages. The judge said that the jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that Cox did not do enough to warrant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protections, when it ignored repeated attempts by BMG to identify and stop users downloading pirated music on Cox's network.
The case originally began with complaints from BMG that the cable provider had ignored millions of infringement notices it had filed, and had blacklisted some of the services BMG used to track and report music piracy by Cox customers. BMG claimed that Cox should was accountable for the infringement, as it had not complied with the DMCA rules that protect ISPs from infringement.
"In sum, the court finds Cox has not identified any ground that would warrant a new trial," the judge declared.
The verdict sets a potentially worrying precedent for ISPs, with some calling for further clarification on what exactly they will be held accountable for should subscribers commit of music piracy.
“In reaching this conclusion, the Court acknowledges that the application of traditional contributory infringement to large intermediaries like Cox magnifies the uncertainties in this area of the law and raises the specter of undesirable consequences that may follow,” the judge added. “This case may provide the vehicle for consideration of those questions.”