In December 2019, Cox was found liable for piracy infringement and a court ordered the company to pay $1 billion in damages to major record labels. Cox challenged the verdict but legal documents now confirm that Cox will have to pay $99,830.29 per work in damages for over 10,000 works.
When Cox challenged the amount of damages, it said that some of the works were” derivative of others, and thus ineligible for a separate statutory damage award,” arguing that it was being forced to pay twice for some titles that were duplicates. In a small victory for ISPs who are found liable for allowing their customers to pirate material in the future, the court did acknowledge that ISPs should pay damages for each title, rather than for each copyright, which would cut out damages for duplicates.
In the trial, Cox didn’t offer a list of duplicates, as noted in a six page legal document from January 12 shared by Digital Music News, so the company is still on the hook for all 10,017 titles.
“Clearly, the number of derivative works in play in this case was a question for the jury. The jury answered that question with the information available, and Cox did not provide the information to the jury that it has provided to the Court in its post-trial brief,” Judge Liam O’Grady wrote. The number could have been reduced from 10,017 to 7,579 if the evidence had been presented.
While this case was specifically about the piracy of music titles, it also serves as a more general warning to ISPs that if they don’t create and adhere to stricter guidelines for finding and preventing piracy on their networks, there will be costly consequences.