A Virginia jury today handed down a $25 million judgement in favor of BMG for willful contributory copyright infringement by Cox Communications following what was apparently a very brief deliberation. There will be much written about the case, but let’s think for a moment about what it means for the Copyright Alert System.
The judge in the case ruled earlier in pre-trial motions that Cox had failed to maintain an effective repeat infringer policy and procedure. What seems to have been most compelling to the judge was that Cox didn’t do enough in terminating repeat infringers although the company did temporarily suspend access to a users Internet connection.
That is interesting because the Copyright Alert System (which involves the largest US ISPs) is essentially a system of notices and alerts that never results in what seemed to be important to the court in Cox–termination. Which is actually just…
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You might find the Philly Law Blog’s analysis of the Cox case interesting: https://phillylawblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/the-truth-about-bmg-v-cox/#more-6297
It appears that Cox may have been damaged by the alleged following email as quoted by the philly law blog “Notably, Cox’s Manager of Customer Abuse Operations, wrote in an email:
As we move forward in this challenging time we want to hold on to every subscriber we can. With this in mind if a customer is terminated for DMCA, you are able to reactivate them after you give them a stern warning about violating our AUP and the DMCA. We must still terminate in order for us to be in compliance with safe harbor but once termination is complete, we have fulfilled our obligation. After you reactivate them the DMCA ‘counter’ restarts; The procedure restarts with the sending of warning letters, just like a first offense. This is to be an unwritten semi-policy… We do not talk about it or give the subscriber any indication that reactivating them is normal. Use your best judgment and remember to do what is right for our company and subscribers… This only pertains to DMCA violations. It does not pertain to spammers, hackers, etc.”
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