Insanity (AKA Copyright Statutory Damages) Rules: Cox Hit With $1 Billion (With A B) Jury Verdict For Failing To Magically Stop Piracy

from the oh-come-on dept

We’ve highlighted the many problems with the various lawsuits against Cox Communications arguing that the company should be held liable for failing to wave a magic wand and stop all piracy from occurring on its service. The internet access provider was originally sued by music publisher BMG, and they got a judge who made it clear that he was not a fan of the internet, and didn’t see why it should be a problem for anyone to be kicked off the internet at all. Cox lost the case mostly because the company didn’t really follow its own internal repeat infringer policy. That ruling was upheld on appeal, leading the company to settle the case for $25 million.

Sensing an opportunity to cash in, all of the RIAA major record labels jumped in to sue Cox as well — and got the same exact judge, Liam O’Grady. After a trial earlier this month, a jury has now awarded an absolutely astounding $1 billion damages verdict. The verdict is so preposterous and so disconnected from reality, that the math is wrong. The jury verdict document said that each infringed work should lead to statutory damages to the tune of $99,830.29. And there were 10,017 works infringed. And thus, the total was $1 billion on the dot:

Except that if you multiply those two numbers, the total would actually be $1,000,000,014.93. The jury’s bad math saved Cox just about $15. Small favors.

Anyway, Cox has already made it clear that it will appeal, and I’d be stunned of such an amount held up. Everything about this is (1) crazy and (2) demonstrative of just how messed up and broken the “statutory damages” set up is for copyright. We’ve long wondered why statutory damages are even a thing in copyright, because they really don’t make any sense. But the fact that statutory damages can go as high as $150k per work infringed — even if there were literally no actual damages, raises significant 5th Amendment issues about due process (specifically, the wholly arbitrary nature of the jury award) and whether or not the award is “obviously unreasonable.”

In a Supreme Court ruling almost exactly 100 years ago (St. Louis v. Williams), the Supreme Court ruled about obviously unreasonable awards, noting that there’s a problem when “the penalty is ‘arbitrary and unreasonable, and not proportionate to the actual damages sustained.'” That certainly seems to be the case here. After all, a basic recounting of the facts seems important here. Yes, Cox did not adequately follow its own repeat infringer policy, which may have lost it its DMCA safe harbors, but a jury verdict of over $30,000 per work infringed requires the jury to say that each and every infringement was willful by Cox. And that’s crazy. Fucking up your own policies doesn’t mean that you willfully infringed on every single work that someone shared via your network. Indeed, Cox was actually one of the more aggressive internet access providers in kicking people off for infringing.

Just to put this in perspective, the entire RIAA made just under $10 billion in 2018 in the US. IFPI reported that the total globally was $19.1 billion. And they want to now say that piracy of 10,000 songs on one ISP should grant them $1 billion? Honestly, the award is so insane, and so out of touch with reality, I actually wonder if the RIAA might come to regret it, as it makes the strongest case I’ve seen yet for the sheer unconstitutional nature of statutory damages, without any evidence of actual damages, for copyright infringement.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: cox, cox communications, riaa, sony music, universal music, warner music

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Comments on “Insanity (AKA Copyright Statutory Damages) Rules: Cox Hit With $1 Billion (With A B) Jury Verdict For Failing To Magically Stop Piracy”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Recusal? What's that?'

Sensing an opportunity to cash in, all of the RIAA major record labels jumped in to sue Cox as well — and got the same exact judge, Liam O’Grady.

Because of course a judge who isn’t a fan of the while ‘internet’ thing should be overseeing cases involving it… Might as well have an overtly vegan judge who has previously said they see nothing wrong in shutting down restaurants that serve non-vegan menu items issuing judgements on cases that involve that very type of restaurants.

As for the damages angle I’m definitely going to agree with the article on this one, the fact that .50-1.00 dollar songs magically become worth just under one-hundred thousand each simply highlights just how utterly insane copyright law is. A $10,000 car would not become worth the same as a high-end luxury car going for hundreds of thousands simply because someone stole it, and in that case there would be an actual loss by the owner, even if only temporary.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Anti-internet judge

The fact that we can have anti-internet judges seems to be an indictment of the failure of the entire justice system, especially since it’s been established within the international community that internet access is a human right (and that we’re right to frown on India for its ongoing shutdown in Kashmir)

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Dave says:

Re: Re: Re: Anti-internet judge

Oh dear – resident troll’s away again. Does seem to be the most revolting, despicable, detestable and mouthy little person. Small-man syndrome, I reckon. Wonder if he has ANY social graces at all, hiding behind the electronics of a computer screen. Wonder what the result would be if these loathsome insults were thrown face-to-face? Wouldn’t happen, because these sort of people are invariably out-and-out cowards. Obviously been to the Trump charm school.

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Anonymous Coward says:

this is why the entertainment industries wanted a jury verdict!
1)because stopping piracy is impossible
2)because the entertainment industries wanted maximum monies from a company that could easily go bankrupt
3)because the more companies of this type that go bankrupt, the easier it will be for the entertainment industries to take complete control of the internet, to have it restricted to only users the industries give permission to or to shut it down! these same industries have done whatever they can for decades to limit progress of all things technical that they cant control and the internet is no different. add in the courts country wide and now worldwide willing to take everything possible from the people and put under the control of companies (especially since Trump came on the scene) and see where this is going! they wont stop until they get what they want and it’s about time the rest of the world actually acknowledged what’s going on and stood against them. saying ‘No’, means ‘No’! the public stopped other ridiculous things from happening, how come we cant stop the entertainment industries from taking control of the best communication platform invented to date, just because they refuse to change with the rest of the world?

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urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I figured they wanted a jury verdict because nearly every living American despises the cable companies and would be eager to exploit this opportunity for revenge. I’m sure the judge hates Cox just as much, but he’s got a bigger obligation to remain "professional".

Granted, most of us despise the RIAA too, but they have less name recognition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

MOTHER: (calling down to the basement) "Honey, dinner is almost ready, please come upstairs."

SON: "I will in just a minute."

MOTHER: "What are you doing down there?"

SON: "Nothing! Don’t worry about it."

MOTHER: "You’re not still playing around with those torrent files, are you?"

SON: "What I’m doing is none of your business."

MOTHER: "I told you, I’m happy to give you my Spotify password…"

SON: "NO! NO MOM, NO!"

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"I figured they wanted a jury verdict because nearly every living American despises the cable companies and would be eager to exploit this opportunity for revenge."

All too true. This is just a case of a major crook holding up a minor crook at gunpoint. Difficult to muster much sympathy even for the jurisprudens principle being violated in the proceedings.

US telcos, not just Cox, are in the crapper because they had a choice way back when the DMCA was announced. Either voluntarily embrace "mere conduit" wholeheartedly and remain in safe harbor in perpetuity…
…or try using traffic shaping and metadata collection to intervene in their customer’s data transfers and lose safe harbor.

Thi is a wakeup call for them. Unless the Cox verdict is completely overturned US telcos will have the option of rapidly becoming staunch defenders of mere conduit, or remain wide open to any crackpot lawsuit launched by passing copyright trolls.

As I keep saying, the dogfight between Cox and the copyright cult as spearheaded by "Old Bought" Grady is just one of those rare examples where multiple wrongs colluded to produce a right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Whether they are a neutral conduit or not, has nothing to do with a requirement to pass on notices or disconnect customers on the say so of the copyright cartel. This is has to do with the copyright cartel recruiting other companies to wage war of ‘pirates’ by the use of arbitrary punishment.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"has nothing to do with a requirement to pass on notices or disconnect customers on the say so of the copyright cartel."

It does, actually. To retain safe harbor an ISP needs to have a policy which is consistently followed. That policy may consist of disconnecting alleged infringers on allegation, on demanding burden of proof, on passing on notices blindly…

…but it may not be a policy which the ISP itself fails to adhere to, and it must be a neutral response which always produces the same result. This is part of the mere conduit principle. That the ISP itself is the passive part.

Cox deliberately DID set up a policy which claimed they’d handle alleged piracy in a certain way – then deviated from that/failed to fulfill the expectations of the RIAA/MPAA/BSA.

In short they would have been far better off stonewalling the copyright cult’s mass-mailed notices consistently than implementing a scheme trying to meet the cult halfway.

Ironically O’Grady’s verdict relied almost exclusively on the fact that since Cox had attempted to police their network by setting a policy of doing so yet failed to consistently execute that policy, Cox lost safe harbor.

That’s why this entire case has turned into an object lesson to every US ISP that trying to appease the copyright cult will cause legal exposure to a far greater degree than stonewalling it will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Because of course a judge who isn’t a fan of the while ‘internet’ thing should be overseeing cases involving it… Might as well have an overtly vegan judge who has previously said they see nothing wrong in shutting down restaurants that serve non-vegan menu items issuing judgements on cases that involve that very type of restaurants.

No, it’s because the federal courts assign "related cases" to the same judge. Standard procedure that can just as easily work in reverse.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And yet, here you are, treating him so seriously that you’re literally hoping his family dies in a plane crash so you can orgasm.

Yet you obsess over me way more than I do over MANICK. Like some here say when they talk shit, it’s just ENTERTAINMENT!

What isn’t entertainment is the dossier on him and his lawyer buddies that’ll be making its way around his white-collar circles. Lots of people are getting sick of the little punk and truth is a great light to shine on the cockroach.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Yet you obsess over me way more than I do over MANICK.

No, I don’t. You spend every waking minute of your life dreaming about (and possibly masturbating to) all the violent, sexual, and violently sexual things you’d do to Mike and his family. I browse Twitter, jack off to Gianna Michaels videos, and occasionally watch a movie. The only time I think about you is when you shit up these comments sections and I get a chance to blow off some steam.

Like some here say when they talk shit, it’s just ENTERTAINMENT!

You thinking you’re funny doesn’t make you funny. Your passing off threats toward Mike and his family as “entertainment” doesn’t makes you any less of a Schrödinger’s Rapist/Murderer.

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Anonymous Coward says:

As for the damages angle I’m definitely going to agree with the article on this one, the fact that .50-1.00 dollar songs magically become worth just under one-hundred thousand each simply highlights just how utterly insane copyright law is. A $10,000 car would not become worth the same as a high-end luxury car going for hundreds of thousands simply because someone stole it, and in that case there would be an actual loss by the owner, even if only temporary.

It’s not the song that is valuable, it’s the LAW that DETERS this conduct. Masnick just learned how irrelevant his viewpoint is and it’s great!

Apparently, copying IS theft. Don’t like it, don’t steal it!

Nice "meltdown" article LOLOLOLOL

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

It’s not the song that is valuable

I’m not sure that helps your argument, and I’m not sure the RIAA would appreciate someone making that argument.

it’s the LAW that DETERS this conduct

The law says a company that didn’t willfully infringe upon copyrights has to pay a billion dollars in damages. The law says someone who files a false DMCA takedown notification should be punished but can basically get off scot-free because the courts don’t give a shit.

How are these laws supposed to “deter conduct”, again?

Apparently, copying IS theft.

No, it isn’t. Copying is copying. Whether it is copyright infringement depends on the context. And copying can never be theft because nothing is stolen. (You can skip the “potential revenue” argument; we all know it’s bullshit.) If’n you want to make that mistake again, I can gladly teach you the basics. I’ll even make sure to use lots of one-syllable words so you can understand what I say.

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Dave says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I really don’t know why you bother to exert what little muscle power you have, pounding out these meaningless and spiteful diatribes. Vindictiveness, revenge and retaliation (not to mention the odd bout of sarcasm) don’t become ANYBODY, as the "great" orange Trump has already amply demonstrated. Ever thought of becoming a politician? Seems you have the required "qualities" of turn-coat and hypocrisy.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

*The law says a company that didn’t willfully infringe upon copyrights WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Only MANICK thinks contributory infringement doesn’t exist. Reality, something he’s rather disconnected from, just asserted itself.

He writes like an eighth-grader and thinks like a second-grader. It’d be really funny if his kids died of leukemia btw.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The idea is to deter theft or the enabling of theft with a penalty so severe the thieves will either stop doing it or be bankrupted for doing it.

  1. Copyright infringement is not theft.
  2. I fail to see how penalizing Cox for its lax policies will stop Cox from doing something it wasn’t doing in the first place (willfully infringing upon copyrights).

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"The Supreme Court says otherwise. Their opinions are binding legal precedent. What the fuck are yours?"

Eh, Bobmail just went full meltdown again. Every now and then he has those little episodes where he just can’t help himself.

I think it’s a copyright thing. He still can’t get over the idea that the obvious lies spun by the RIAA and MPAA don’t, in fact, override the Supreme Court.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The RIAA and MPAA don't override the Supreme Court

"To be fair, they just need to rent a bigger army."

According to Bobmail/Blue/Jhon they already got one and ANY DAY NOW it will descend on all of us ungodly pirates and haul us off in chains. He’s been salivating over that fantasy since his days on Torrentfreak.

It’s only when we point out that it’s still more dangerous to cross the road than to copy media online that he blows his top and starts screaming about murder and rape. Or, if he feels particularly restrained, mere SWATting and lawsuits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ah

Hold on a sec …. the war on drugs was started by nixon, that was in the seventies.
Many so called boomers were not even old enough at the time to vote. granted, their later votes sucked but so did many other groups with derogatory names.
This generational bullshit is just another of many techniques used to divide and conquer.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The idea is to deter theft or the enabling of theft with a penalty so severe the thieves will either stop doing it or be bankrupted for doing it.

Except that Cox paying $1 billion, or even going out of business entirely, won’t stop the actual infringers. They’ll just keep doing it somewhere else.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except that Cox paying $1 billion, or even going out of business entirely, won’t stop the actual infringers. They’ll just keep doing it somewhere else.

No, they won’t, because prison is on the table, and no ISP’s going to risk bankruptcy just to enable piracy.

This is a decisive win for those who make over those who take.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"No, they won’t, because prison is on the table, and no ISP’s going to risk bankruptcy just to enable piracy."

Except it’s not, and what you keep failing to see is that all this does ruling does is to ensure that US ISP’s will henceforth be very careful to maintain their safe harbors the only practically possible way they can – by strenuously being mere conduits unaware of (and unable to) what the hell their customers are doing.

No ISP can function in a paradigm of intermediate liability – at all. So they one thing the trolls of the copyright cult accomplished here is to wreck their own business model.

But feel free to carole in joy over the feces-tinted visions you experience in your twisted little la-la land while your drugs hold out, Bobmail. One day you’ll have to face factual reality after all.

The future only holds one of two possible realities. One where the US is part of the 3rd world since it has become impossible for any internet providers to exist…or a US where "copyright" is a long-abandoned insanity rightly consigned to the scrapheap of history.

No doubt at that time you’ll still be doing your own version of "The south shall rise again" while threatening to rape the disabled from your seat on the nursing home porch – in that particularly malicious fashion we’ve come to expect from you.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

…ith a penalty so severe the thieves will either stop doing it or be bankrupted for doing it.

This has worked out well with the war on drugs as well.

What should be the next logical progression is putting those thieves in prison, like NYS did under the Rockefeller drug laws of old. I’m sure you’ll love having to pay for their food and housing while they work off the billion dollars you’ll never get from them.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What should be the next logical progression is putting those thieves in prison, like NYS did under the Rockefeller drug laws of old. I’m sure you’ll love having to pay for their food and housing while they work off the billion dollars you’ll never get from them.

Thieves belong in prison. That’s the next step.

MANICK’s voice is so IMPOTENT in this debate it turns out.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thieves belong in prison.

Ahem.

[I]nterference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright: “ ‘Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner,’ that is, anyone who trespasses into his exclusive domain by using or authorizing the use of the copyrighted work in one of the five ways set forth in the statute, ‘is an infringer of the copyright.’ [17 U.S.C.] 501(a).”

The Supreme Court said “copyright infringement isn’t theft”. Given the reverence you’ve shown the court involved with this case, I wonder how much reverence you’re going to show for a quote from the highest court in the land that disagrees with you. (Your opinions are just that. The Supreme Court’s opinions are binding legal precedent. Guess which opinions matter more.)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"This has worked out well with the war on drugs as well."

No need to go all the way to some other "war".

The "war on piracy" has been going on ever since the self-playing piano was invented. The pirates have won every battle so far (the VCR, radio, the MP3, DVD, etc) and the only reason the copyright cult is still around is because piracy is, irrespective of their long-debunked mantra, not harmful to their interests at all.

More’s the pity.

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Cdaragorn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The idea is to deter theft or the enabling of theft with a penalty so severe the thieves will either stop doing it or be bankrupted for doing it

  1. It’s not theft. Even this ruling doesn’t call it theft.
  2. The Constitution explicitly forbids this kind of penalizing mentality precisely because it stops being about encouraging people to follow the law and just becomes about destroying people’s lives. At that point you no longer have a system of justice. You are advocating for something that is much more like crime boss style thuggery.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"You are advocating for something that is much more like crime boss style thuggery."

Of course he is. Ever since Jhon/Blue posted this same shit on torrentfreak under the name "Bobmail" it’s been pretty clear that in his twisted imagination his view of "law" is the same as that of some malicious 5th century BC potentate who likes to jerk off to people being flayed and burned at the stake.

And every time someone points out that he’ll never be in the position of watching that scene in reality he has a meltdown and starts gibbering about "pirates" in hysteria.

"Justice" is anathema to someone who has hung his entire ego on the idea that he should be able to control how people think.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It will be awesome when you get the death penalty for walking on the grass or some shit. That’s how out of proportion the jury award is. Deterrents do not get to be that extreme. Never mind that deterrents like that are never deterrents to the people actually doing the infringing, they don’t have that much to give.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It will be awesome when you get the death penalty for walking on the grass or some shit. That’s how out of proportion the jury award is. Deterrents do not get to be that extreme. Never mind that deterrents like that are never deterrents to the people actually doing the infringing, they don’t have that much to give.

COXsucker can afford the billion. The rest are on notice that #piracyisover so badly that they’ll be dreaming of KPop stan videos.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The rest are on notice that #piracyisover

Call me when the feds start arresting everyone en masse for watching a clip from The Rise of Skywalker that was posted outside of a Disney-controlled account. Until then, copyright infringement isn’t dead, and this court ruling isn’t going to kill it. Neither will your sexual fantasies about you shoving infringers into the gas chamber and pulling the switch.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"The rest are on notice that #piracyisover…"

Again?

This makes which time over the last twenty years that some copyright cult moron described the "war on piracy" as "won"?

As usual, Baghdad Bob, you keep describing the scene of the republican guard throwing the allies out of Iraq with such relish it’s almost hard to tell you for how many years that war was lost for your side…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The idea is to deter theft or the enabling of theft with a penalty so severe the thieves will either stop doing it or be bankrupted for doing it.

Except in this case it was not the infringers that are being punished. There must be another reason, like getting the ISP’s to implement their terror tactics of disconnect a family is they claim someone used hat IP address to infringe on copyright.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"There must be another reason, like getting the ISP’s to implement their terror tactics of disconnect a family is they claim someone used hat IP address to infringe on copyright."

Only three possible outcomes of that;

Either intermediate liability becomes a thing, in which case running an ISP at all becomes as risky as running a drug import ring. The US becomes the first nation to entirely lose it’s internet, along with it’s international competitive ability.

Or US ISP’s become fanatic adherents of net neutrality in order to safeguard safe harbor and no copyright complaint will ever touch them or their customers again.

…or, and this is increasingly likely, in order to safeguard both businesses and individuals the deep net becomes the new US standard for online data traffic and no one, copyright cult or government agency, ever gets to learn or say anything about what goes on online ever again.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What was that you were saying yesterday about psychopathy and glib retorts? Because all your sexual fantasies about Masnick’s family dying in a plane crash is probably a second checkbox on the list.

Oooooh you’re SO serious!

Maybe YOU fantasize about MANICK that way but don’t speak for me.

Today’s ruling shows just how STUPID and IRRELEVANT he is. This is an epic tantrum of an article he posted, that’s for sure.

How’s it feel to LOSE worse than anyone has ever LOST in court on an issue he cares about? Oh yeah, MANICK hides behind his "fans."

Looks like whatever he was trying to accomplish with his editorials, he didn’t. Wonder if this will impact his gravy train.

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norahc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Oooooh you’re SO serious!

Pot, meet kettle

Maybe YOU fantasize about MANICK that way but don’t speak for me.

You shouldn’t even be speaking for yourself

Today’s ruling shows just how STUPID and IRRELEVANT copyright law is.

Fixed that for you

This is an epic tantrum of an article he posted, that’s for sure.

And your tantrum is an order of magnitude higher.

How’s it feel to LOSE worse than anyone has ever LOST in court on an issue he cares about?

Considering he wasn’t even a party to the lawsuit, he didn’t lose.

Oh yeah, MANICK hides behind his "fans."

Yet you’re the one hiding behins the AC tag.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Please explain how a corporation winning a vastly inflated sum of money from another corporation — money which will never be paid to creators themselves in any significant amount, if the RIAA even manages to collect it — is “a beautiful day for creators”.

It means that ALL creators now have protection. It means the thieves who said they wouldn’t purchase if piracy were not available can now back up those words.

MANICK, on the other hand, was just made to look like the irrelevant idiot that he is.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Creators

Creators notoriously are underpaid by the labels and studios, and Hollywood accounting remains a thing. The way that artists outside of the fetters of a studio contract operate is to focus on tours and not being a total dick.

It doesn’t bring Michael Jackson level success, but it does make for a six-figure income.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Creators

Creators notoriously are underpaid by the labels and studios, and Hollywood accounting remains a thing. The way that artists outside of the fetters of a studio contract operate is to focus on tours and not being a total dick.

In other words, they have to do LABOR, except songwriters don’t have that option and those who can tour should make money IN ADDITION to what they make touring. Creators WILLINGLY sign over their work to the publishers and get very wealthy in the process. Many become millionaires without ever being known. Look up Sid Prosen for example.

Artists also get paid UP FRONT especially in SAG-AFTRA and make millions when they make hits. The way to "not be a total dick" is to NOT STEAL WORK in the first place. Those who run pirate sites are profiting from organized crime. Also criminal copyright infringement is a predicate RICO act.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Tell me again how y’all have "explained" how this couldn’t happen."

No one ever did, but feel free to, as usual, rewrite the past in your own imagination.

What we were telling you then and are again telling you now, is that this ruling is the worst possible thing for the copyright cult since it incentivizes every US ISP to ensure they retain safe harbor by being mere conduits.

Worst case possible, from the pirate point of view, is that henceforth the deep net becomes the standard for both ISP’s and their consumers and you asshats lose every possibility to even measure the extent to which people copy media.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As a creator I would rather all pirates be kicked offline.

Consider the following: Infringing upon copyright is as easy as saving a copy of a copyrighted image to your computer. If you booted everyone guilty of even the smallest kind of copyright infringement — “piracy”, if you will — how do you expect to make money from your works when no one would be around to see or buy them?

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urza9814 (profile) says:

"Come back with a warrant?"

So…I’ve got some friends on Cox, who get disconnected every couple months, and they call up customer service and give some story about "Piracy? What’s that? Secure Wifi? I don’t know what any of that means!"…and then they get reconnected. Meanwhile, there’s people who download CONSTANTLY on Verizon and have never heard a word about it. So I assume Verizon’s policy is essentially "Come back when you’ve got a court order"?

It says here that a large part of the problem is that Cox did not obey their own policy for dealing with repeat infringers. Sounds like they might not have lost if their policy was "That’s not our problem". They chose to become an enforcement agency, and they got sued for failing to do that job well enough. That’s what you get when you try to help a group of crooks like the RIAA…

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Comcast and AT&T

Both of these companies use a 13 strikes thing where they send growling messages about reports they got regarding copyright infringement on given IP addies.

They don’t say how many strikes someone has left, so I don’t know if it’s actually thirteen, and I’ve never heard of anyone first-hand actually getting penalized.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Come back with a warrant?"

So…I’ve got some friends on Cox, who get disconnected every couple months, and they call up customer service and give some story about "Piracy? What’s that? Secure Wifi? I don’t know what any of that means!"…and then they get reconnected. Meanwhile, there’s people who download CONSTANTLY on Verizon and have never heard a word about it. So I assume Verizon’s policy is essentially "Come back when you’ve got a court order"?

Now they have one. Piracy is officially dead in the US now.

It says here that a large part of the problem is that Cox did not obey their own policy for dealing with repeat infringers. Sounds like they might not have lost if their policy was "That’s not our problem". They chose to become an enforcement agency, and they got sued for failing to do that job well enough. That’s what you get when you try to help a group of crooks like the RIAA…

No, their problem was "willful blindness" and a ridiculous "thirteen-strike" policy.

The battle is over. The copyrightholders have won, more decisively than I could ever have imagined.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Come back with a warrant?"

Piracy is officially dead in the US now.

I’m in the US. I just right-clicked an image from a website and saved it to my computer. I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Yo ho ho.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Come back with a warrant?"

"Now they have one. Piracy is officially dead in the US now."

It always amuses when you try to hold a solid suck & fail up as a glorious win, Baghdad Bob.

The one and only reason that Cox was open to that lawsuit in the first place was because they tried to have a policy of enforcing copyright for you guys and failed to do the job properly.

Verizon and other ISP’s have just learned that in order to remain untouchable to lawsuits such as these they need to tell the copyright cult "Screw you, policing our customers is NOT our business".

"No, their problem was "willful blindness" and a ridiculous "thirteen-strike" policy. "

You never even read a single line of the verdict, right?
O’Grady, as staunch an ally of the copyright cult as he is, was pretty damn clear that the only reason Cox lost safe harbor was because they had an anti-pirate policy they failed to implement.

Since it isn’t possible to "properly" implement such a policy and still remain in business as an ISP the only escape is to rely on NOT having any such policy other than "in the wastebasket with unproven allegations".

"The battle is over. The copyrightholders have won, more decisively than I could ever have imagined."

You keep saying that. And yet not one single pirate has ever noticed a damn thing.

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Anonymous Coward says:

This whole thing is stupid. The jury wanted to award 1 billion, obviously, and fudged the math to do so. Even if they had done the math correctly, nobody would believe that they came up with $99,830.29 per work for any other reason than to get to $1 billion. If there had been exactly 10,000 allegedly infringing works, they would have awarded exactly $100,000 per work to get to that number, despite all other facts being the same. That’s arbitrary and unfair.

Did the RIAA really and truly prove that they owned the copyright for all 10,017 allegedly infringing works? Did they prove that each of those works was, in fact, infringing (after all, not every illegal music file on the Internet is correctly labeled)? Did they prove that each of those works was, in fact, infringed – and willfully infringed, at that? Did the jury go through the list and make sure there were no duplicates? Were the 10,017 works even individually named so the jury could do that?

We’re talking $99,830.29 per infringement here. Shortcuts shouldn’t be allowed.

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tp (profile) says:

isp position on copyright is completely crazy

If ordinary authors need to examine their copyrighted works against copyright infringement and even 3 lines of copied code can result in 100k of damage awards between authors, then how does isp’s crazy math figure out that they can get away with 10000 infringement in their technology without anyone noticing? The isp’s position that they’re just transfering the bits as is without ability to control the infringing activity is completely crazy.

The whole idea that isps can get away with inringements simply doesnt make sense. If their customers use the internet connection for piracy, it is the responsibility o the isp to control the activity happening in the network. It’s simply crazy position that isps dont need to care about inringements simply because they’re handling different part of the technology stack, while everyone else around them are getting 300k damage awards for piracy.

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tp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

ISPs are not going to pay for your shitty "meshpage", Minecrafter.

Time was spent. Work was done successfully. Product finished and shipped. Someone must pay.

Whether you make isps or end users or adverticers to pay, it doesn’t matter. I tried to sell the web property for 150k dollars. Noone took the bait yet, so some other mechanism will be developed, until there’s successful extraction of the money.

Did you think these 5 billion web pages on the planet comes for free? You gotta be kidding us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You genuinely thought that was a smart comeback didn’t you? Except for a few points:

  1. People actually use Wikipedia instead of that mess of code you have the balls to call a graphics and game engine
  2. Wales doesn’t ask for a mansion
  3. Wales is not nearly a thousandth of the self-centered asshole you are
Wyrm (profile) says:

Re: The enemy of my enemy.

The only way to come out sane from watching this is checking the issue rather than the actors. In this case, you might have reasons to hate the ISP, but they are hands down the one you should side with.

If this is considered willful copyright infringement, Internet overall will be doomed, in the US at least. The only option left will be to completely drop any effort at moderation because any less-than-perfect implementation will be interpreted as active support for the infringements, which is crazy.

In any other domain, it would be seen as such. Imagine someone commits a murder in a building despite a gun check at the entrance, nobody would think of suing the security guards for willfully murdering the victim. Failing to find the gun is not the same as being an accomplice. (There would likely be an investigation to make sure none of the guards was indeed an accomplice, but none of them would be sued for just failing at finding the gun.)

Obviously, circumstances are a bit different here, but the core concept is the same: failure to prevent a behavior is not the same as willfully contributing to it. Judging otherwise is a terrible idea, regardless of who the victim of the decision is.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: The enemy of my enemy.

"The only option left will be to completely drop any effort at moderation because any less-than-perfect implementation will be interpreted as active support for the infringements, which is crazy."

And this is why this is one of those cases where two wrongs end up making a right, sort of.

The US now has a precedent case that demonstrates that either an ISP perfectly serves the interests of the copyright cult – which in the end renders the very concept of operating an ISP impossible.

Or the ISP’s need to start scrupulously adhering to being mere conduits which blindly pass on or scrap any allegation of infringement unbacked by an actual court of law, in the hope of retaining safe harbor.

What the Cox case demonstrates is that trying to meet the copyright cults expectations, even halfway, is suicide.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Seriously? Cox absolutely knew that its subscribers were pirating movies and music. Cox did nothing to deter or penalize its subscribers, so the court found it liable for damages. Cox deserved the billion dollar verdict. When you pirate content that is owned by the media companies, don’t expect that you can get away with no repercussions.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

"Seriously? Cox absolutely knew that its subscribers were pirating movies and music."

Ford similarly knows damn well many criminals use their cars for drug running, robbery and murder.

Every hardware store in existence knows many of its tools end up being used by criminals.

Criminals use telephone services.

Yet you’re giving all of those a free pass because why, exactly? Cox has the exact same culpability, except for one thing

"Cox did nothing to deter or penalize its subscribers, so the court found it liable for damages."

Nope. The problem is, as O’Grady describes it quite well, that Cox is liable for damages and culpable because they tried and FAILED to deter and penalize it’s subscribers according to Cox’s own policy. Ironically if Cox had a policy of blindly passing along notices and otherwise ignoring any and all strike requests they would have been in the clear.

That, you see, is how the DMCA safe harbor works.

"Cox deserved the billion dollar verdict."

Oh, i fully agree. Cox tried to lick the copyright cult’s boots by meeting them halfway. No other ISP in the US will be dumb enough to do THAT again. As a pirate I heartily approve of cutting Cox’s throat to send a message to other ISP’s.
That message, however, won’t be the one you’re thinking of.

You see, in practical terms it isn’t possible to fully meet the copyright cult and still operate an ISP. Meeting them halfway means you’re the next Cox. Any time a copyright troll sends a notice you end up legally exposed.

But the DMCA explicitly DOES allow ISP’s to get away with ignoring the copyright cult completely, in practice, as long as they carry out whatever policy they have set down blindly.

And so that’s what will happen in the future.

"When you pirate content that is owned by the media companies, don’t expect that you can get away with no repercussions."

Uh, you DO realize that not one single pirate was impacted by this, and neither will they in the future? Pirates will keep getting away with copying and transmitting whatever they wish until someone is dumb enough to pull the plug on the actual internet. You are still some 40000 times more likely to be struck by lightning when stepping outdoors than you are to find yourself in hot water over copying media files.

But since you seem to have missed the last fifty years worth of this battle I’ll forgive you for falling for the hype the MPAA have been braying mindlessly for all that time.

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