Cox Lies To Customers; Says DMCA Requires Disconnects For File Sharing

from the that's-flat-out-false dept

While there's been a big push among the entertainment industry to get ISPs to adopt a "three strikes" policy that would have ISPs disconnect internet access to users accused of unauthorized file sharing, with them losing their account permanently after the third time. This is highly problematic for a variety of reasons, starting with the rather flimsy evidence that the entertainment industry relies on, combined with the idea that the accused are considered guilty with no process of appeal. Furthermore, there's no clear reason why an ISP should act as a copyright cop for the entertainment industry. In fact, many ISPs trashed such proposals, and told the entertainment industry where to shove them. More recently, the EU Parliament rejected such laws mandating three strikes policies, noting that they were clear violations of individuals' freedom.

One of the reasons that the entertainment industry had been focusing on Europe, Australia and Canada for such programs was that it seemed that US ISPs had made it clear that they would never adopt such a three strikes policy. Think again. Apparently cable giant, Cox, has quietly adopted a three strikes policy and is kicking users off the internet if they're accused of file sharing.

Even worse, the company is lying to customers about it, claiming that the DMCA requires them to do so:
Under the DMCA, we have the responsibility to temporarily disable your Internet access, until such time as you take the necessary steps to remove the infringing files and to prevent further distribution of copyrighted material.
This is a complete fabrication. The DMCA has no such requirement. What's really odd is that Cox had built up a reputation as being the customer friendly broadband ISP that took customer service very seriously. Yet, here they are, cutting users off, lying to them about why and relying on the entertainment industry's weak evidence to harm its customers. It's a shame. In the meantime, we'll extend an earlier challenge to Cox. Will it accept a three strikes policy of its own? If it cuts off users three times and the evidence is shown to be false, will it provide free internet access to that user?

Filed Under: disconnects, dmca, three strikes
Companies: cox


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2008 @ 10:12am

    "Under the DMCA, we have the responsibility to temporarily disable your Internet access, until such time as you take the necessary steps to remove the infringing files and to prevent further distribution of copyrighted material."

    I take it that the following would be acceptable to meet techdirt's "non-lying" test:

    "Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (hereinafter referred to as the "DMCA"), and specifically as set forth in Section 512 to Title 17 of the United States Code, we have certain obligations we must meet in order to avail ourselves of the DMCA's "safe harbor" provisions. "Safe harbor" basically means that so long as we meet our aforesaid obligations we will not be held monetarily liable for contributory copyright infringement due to the actions of one or more of our customers.

    Based upon some of the uses you have made of our services, we have determined that such uses may expose us to contributory infringement liability. In order to mitigate the potential loss of our "safe harbor", we have decided it is both prudent and in our mutual best interests to temporarily suspend your access to our services until such time as you have taken the necessary steps to remove files infringing the copyrights held by others and to prevent further distribution of any copyrighted material without the prior written consent of the copyright holder(s).

    We regret the inconvenience, and look forward to reestablishing your sevice once you have advised us in writing that you have taken and completed the steps as aforesaid."

    ...or at least words to this effect.

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