Sony, Universal & Warner Music Groups Awarded $1 Billion In Damages From ISP Piracy Suit

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ISP Cox Communications have been ordered to pay $1 billion in damages to the major record labels.

Since the beginning of peer-to-peer sharing; as the internet grew throughout the 2000’s into the behemoth it now is – piracy has always posed a serious threat to many artists, creators and businesses. Piirated tapes existed before the internet hit the mainstream, of course, yet digital piracy has grown increasingly more common and more difficult to tackle. 

Whether it be films, games or music, illegal file-sharing has faced its fair share of crackdowns, but continues to remain prominent in the cyber world. 

Internet Service Providers, who hold legal responsibility for the content they host – are required to protect copyright law, and deal with the issues accordingly; however that is not always the case.

In a breakthrough verdict, major record labels such as Universal, Sony and Warner Music Groups have been awarded a massive 1 billion dollars in statutory damages by a Virginia federal jury – a case filed against ISP Cox Communications, who have been held liable for piracy infringement, following a lawsuit filed in 2018. According to a report by Billboard, Cox became aware of users engaging in music piracy, yet failed to act and bar customers who were confirmed to be violating the law.

Cox have been found guilty of infringement claims on 10,017 musical works owned by the major labels. In a response to the verdict, Cox Communications have claimed the amount is unjust in statement to Billboard, claiming they will appeal the case – with an excerpt reading:

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.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who have been major players in cases against copyright and piracy infringement have praised the verdict – with RIAA chief legal officer Kenneth L. Doroshow stating:

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.

For more details, read Billboard’s full report on the matter.