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BMG SETTLES COX LAWSUIT

BMG has secured a substantial settlement from Cox Communications in relation to its litigation against the ISP for contributory copyright infringement. Financial terms are confidential.

BMG North America General Counsel Keith Hauprich, said, BMG took on the Internet service provider “to defend and establish the principle that in order to benefit from a so-called ‘safe harbor’ defense, an ISP has responsibilities.

“Other ISPs should take note that the law gives protection to the work of artists and songwriters. We will not hesitate to take action where necessary.”

BMG sued Cox Communications for contributory copyright infringement in relation to Cox customers pirating BMG songwriters’ music. While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides protections to Internet companies that unknowingly enable third parties to infringe copyright, they must have systems in place for copyright owners to seek the removal of infringing content or tackle infringing activity. 

BMG alleged that Cox was not entitled to this “safe harbor” defense because despite knowing that some of its subscribers were repeatedly infringing BMG copyrights, Cox refused to terminate the accounts of infringers because it would cost them customers.

 In December 2015, BMG was awarded $25m in damages and $8.5m in costs. That verdict was overturned on a technicality. While the appeal court confirmed that Cox was not entitled to safe harbor protection—the central issue in the case—it said the trial judge had misdirected the jury. Ahead of a retrial of the case, U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady last week confirmed that BMG was entitled to use words such as “stealing” and “theft” in relation to Cox’s activities.

 

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