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Communications Daily Speaks to Shubha Ghosh About 4th Circuit’s Cox Torrent Piracy Ruling

Posted on Monday 2/5/2018
Shubha Ghosh

4th Circuit’s Cox Torrent Piracy Ruling Not Seen Clearing Up Hazy DMCA Areas

(Communications Daily/Warren Communications | Feb. 2, 2018) The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday largely upholding a finding that Cox Communications was liable for willful contributory copyright infringement by ISP subscribers left unanswered questions about Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor issues, experts told us. 

The lower court and appellate rulings give some guidance on issues like what constitutes repeat infringement, though not as much as many hoped, said IP lawyer Rick Sanders of Aaron Sanders. About the only thing clear for ISPs is to make sure they follow their policies—something Cox was blasted for not doing, said Public Knowledge Senior Counsel John Bergmayer.

Cox said it was “pleased” with the 4th Circuit’s docket 16-1972 decision, which reaffirmed a lower court’s denial of a safe harbor defense for the cable operator and remanded the case for a new trial because of jury instruction errors. BMG didn’t comment ...

... Much of the new decision focused on a 2009 email from an executive overseeing the team that addressed subscriber violations, indicating the company’s “unwritten semi-policy” was to terminate customers for DMCA violations, then reactivate them with a clean slate. That “was odd and disturbing” and likely hard for Cox to shake off, said Syracuse University Technology Commercialization Law Center-Director Shubha Ghosh ...

Read the 4th Circuit ruling here.