Cox Communications has lost a piracy infringement case after a 13-day trial in a U.S. District Court in Virginia. The jury unanimously found Cox liable for willful contributory and vicarious infringement of more than 10,000 musical works, awarding $1 billion in statutory damages to the plaintiffs. Those plaintiffs included Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and EMI.
The labels and their publishing entities filed the lawsuit in July 2018, alleging that Cox “deliberately refused to take reasonable measures” to combat copyright infringers. Cox was also accused of allowing said infringement to continue even after the company became aware of specific acts of infringement by its customers. The complaint noted that at least 20,000 Cox subscribers could be categorized as repeat infringers.
Kenneth L. Doroshow, Chief Legal Officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, said in a statement, “The jury’s verdict sends a clear message – Cox and other ISPs that fail to meet their legal obligations to address piracy on their networks will be held accountable. The jury recognized these companies’ legal obligation to take meaningful steps to protect music online and made a strong statement about the value of a healthy music ecosystem for everyone – ranging from creators to fans to the available outlets for legitimate music consumption.”
Cox Communications doesn’t plan to accept the verdict as final. A spokesperson for Cox said in a statement, “The amount is unjust and excessive. We plan to appeal the case and vigorously defend ourselves. We provide customers with a powerful tool that connects to a world full of content and information. Unfortunately, some customers have chosen to use that connection for wrongful activity. We don’t condone it, we educate on it and we do our best to help curb it, but we shouldn’t be held responsible for the bad actions of others.”