back to article Cox blocked! ISP may avoid $25m legal bill for letting punters pirate music online

American cable company Cox may not, after all, have to pay record label BMG $25m for letting its broadband subscribers illegally download and share copyrighted music online. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that a jury was given incorrect instructions when it decided in 2016 that Cox was liable for its …

  1. JimC

    I think your headline is misleading. All that's happening is its being sent back to the lower court for a new trial.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: headline

      Hmmmm, I thought it was pretty obvious - but happy to make it more clear.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: headline

        "ISP may avoid $25m legal bill"?

        It may avoid a $25m settlement. Sadly, the legal bill will continue to go up and up, as long as the two sides are fighting in court.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A broken judicial system...

    The U.S. judicial system is so broken that criminals everywhere can manipulate it to escape prosecution. Cox should definitely be held accountable for their blatant violation of law in allowing massive illegal downloads of copyright protected works.

    1. Robert Baker

      Re: A broken judicial system...

      As the Michael Jackson paedo case showed, the US has the best judicial system that money can buy.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: A broken judicial system...

        There is actually significant evidence that the in the MJ case, the mother was a gold-digging liar. Careful of trial by media. If you want to beat on our system, go for OJ.

        1. ukgnome

          go for OJ

          Well if the glove fits..... wait what

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A broken judicial system...

      If it was illegal cannabis, as opposed to legal cannabis, they'd go after the growers and traffickers.

      This is illegal music, as opposed to legal music, they should go after the people who make the music if they are not doing enough to prevent diversion of the supply.

      1. SimonC

        Re: A broken judicial system...

        Aye that's where we're going wrong, for illegal cannabis we should be going after the DVLA for letting them transport it around

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrrr, me hearties.... Stop cutting our grass.

    Only the record labels are allowed to pirate music. They charge tens of dollars for a track, and give the artists cents.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Repeat offenders

    > ... reaffirming the earlier ruling that Cox did not do enough to stop repeat offenders.

    Except the "repeat offenders" are merely accused of offending by Rightscorp and friends, very rarely with any evidence that's gone to court and made it to a "guilt" verdict.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before internet, one spent all spare cash on music and gigs.

    After internet, one spent all spare cash on gigs.


    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge


      For the label? Yes - it gets a bigger cut from the "music" while the gig income goes to the tour organizer(s) and the band.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Problem? For the label? "

        So? Who cares? If they all went to the wall tomorrow, most people wouldn't give a hoot. Many would actually cheer.

        They're only slightly more popular than lawyers.

  6. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I admit that I'm not completely on top of legal definitions...

    ..."Proving contributory infringement requires proof of at least willful blindness," the court wrote, "negligence is insufficient."...

    ... but I would have thought that taking active steps to avoid being informed about a situation was practically the definition of 'willful blindness'. Why is the court interpreting it as negligence?

    1. theN8

      Re: I admit that I'm not completely on top of legal definitions...

      The way I see it is it's the difference between receiving a letter and not acting on it and boarding up your letterbox so the letters can't be delivered in the first place.

      If you receive the letter and fail to act - you are willfully blind (and some might argue, complicit), but if you don't receive the letters then you cannot be any more than negligent in your duty to accept communications. Of course, if they could prove that you blocked up your letterbox specifically to avoid certain kinds of letters...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I admit that I'm not completely on top of legal definitions...

      The point is that the jury was given an incorrect interpretation of the law to base their decision on, and the court can't go back and second-guess what they might have decided if the correct guidance had been given. That's why it has to go to a retrial.

  7. hayzoos

    As mentioned earlier, repeat "offenders" are according to Rightscorp. All Rightscorp knows first hand is IP addresses. They have to rely on the ISPs to send notices and provide identity of the customer of the IP address. Many possible points of failure there depending on which flawed methods they choose. Keep in mind both Rightscorp and ISPs seek to reduce costs of the mandated overall process, they get to choose the implementation details.

    Assumptions were made that copyright holders or their agents would do due process in seeking damages. Ha! I said doo-doo, no Ha! assuming due process by the likes of RIAA or MPAA or their agents like Rightscorp.

    Rightscorp and their ilk act much like spammers. They have managed to automate much of the process of locating pirates, downloaders, streamers, torrenters, and all types of copyright violators. Then they feed that to automated notice mailers. My guess is their notices were blocked by spam filters.

    Another plausible reason is excess false alarms, boy crying wolf syndrome.

    I'm not for either ISPs or corporate copyright collectors, but in this case I'm more against the corporate copyright collectors.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "All Rightscorp knows first hand is IP addresses."

      And in order to "know" those it has to participate in the sharing swarms - which means uploading as well as downloading.

      It was that kind of thing that got Prenda Law and friends into trouble and there are some links between Rightscorp and Guardaley that both entities were kicked under the carpet.

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