A piracy judgement in excess of $1 Billion against Cox Communications, arrived at in 2019, and subsequently appealed, was upheld in an order released on January 12, by Judge Liam O’Grady in the US District Court for the Eastern Court of Virginia.
According to the judgement, Cox was found to contribute to infringing distribution of copyrighted music by permitting content being distributed over peer-to-peer networks to traverse Cox facilities. Cox had been warned that this traffic was infringing and had been accused of doing little to stop it.
The plaintiffs (including Sony, EMI, Warner, Universal and others) presented more than 10,000 copyrights that Cox was accused of infringing during a specified period between February 2013 and November 2014. Statutory damages were set to be $99,830.29 per item, setting the total at more than $1 Billion.
Read the original complaint document (Case 1:18-cv-0950-LO-JFA document 136 filed 4/23/2019) “First Amended Complaint and Jury Demand”
Read the final judgement document (Case 1:18:cv-009590LO-JFA document 721 filed 1/12/21) “Order”
Why it matters
While this item isn’t about video piracy, this judgement hits close to home for cable TV operators that operate the private broadband access networks that carry stolen content.
This decision also continues successful efforts by the music industry against cable operators in general: the same plaintiffs have also won judgements against other cable operators, including Charter Communications, RCN Corp. and Grande Communications.
It is not known whether similar cases are brewing outside of public view for video programming, although one should expect that cable operators are diligent in managing any infringing distribution of video. After all, broadband access services aside, video is the life blood of cable television services.