Cox Communications will have to pay $1 billion in damages after losing a piracy suit, a Virginia jury decided on Thursday.
In June 2018, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI, and the labels’ publishing subsidiaries sued Cox over more than 10,000 pirated songs. According to the initial complaint, Cox “knowingly contributed to, and reaped substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers.”
Following a 13-day trial, the jury unanimously found Cox liable for willful contributory and vicarious infringement. The labels and publishers were awarded nearly $100,000 per pirated work. The court will not enter judgment until after post-trial motions.
“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,” Kenneth L. Doroshow, Chief Legal Officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, said in a statement. “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.”
In a statement sent to The Wrap, a spokesperson for Cox said the cable giant was “disappointed” by the court’s decision.
“The amount is unjust and excessive. We plan to appeal the case and vigorously defend ourselves,” the statement read. “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.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.