Cox ordered to pay BMG $8.4M in legal fees

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A federal judge has ordered Cox Communications to pay BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music $8.4 million in legal fees, on top of the $25 million damages award he ruled for last year.

A federal judge has ordered Cox Communications to pay BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music $8.4 million in legal fees, on top of the $25 million damages award he ruled for last year.

Presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Liam O’Grady conceded that, “In a hard-fought litigation battle such as this one, discovery disputes and fierce briefing are to be expected. They should not be held too harshly against either party.”

However, O’Grady essentially ruled that Cox spent too much on a flimsy legal defense. 

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“There are a few instances in which Cox’s advocacy crossed the line of objective reasonableness,” O’Grady wrote. “In particular, both Cox’s attempts to obscure its practice of reinstating infringing customers, and its subsequent assertions of a deeply flawed DMCA defense evince a meritless litigation position that Cox vigorously defended.”

RELATED: Cox wants new trial in $25M BMG suit

Cox is appealing the $25 million verdict. Reps for the privately held MSO had not comment for FierceCable, but did confirm the operator is appealing the verdict. The latest developments of the case were reported on by Digital Music News, which obtained a copy of O’Grady’s ruling. 

BMG, which has rights to top artists including David Bowie, Bruno Mars and Frank Ocean, filed the suit after its agent Rightscorp detected more than 1.8 million instances of infringement in connection with 1,397 copyrighted works.

In declining Cox’s attempt to have the case tossed, Judge O’Grady said that the jury had more than enough evidence to conclude that the MSO didn’t do enough to warrant DMCA protections. He said Cox ignored BMG’s repeated requests to stop the piracy. 

“Cox is a conduit service provider,” O’Grady wrote last year. “It provides approximately 4.5 million customers in the United States a connection (or a ‘pipeline’) to the internet. Cox’s relationship with its subscribers is governed by Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP reserves the right to suspend or terminate customers who ‘use the service to post, copy, transmit or disseminate any content that infringes on patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademark, moral rights or proprietary rights of any party.”

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