Cox still battling $25M BMG piracy verdict, says it didn’t know infringement was happening

Ever wonder what happens if you don’t pay those pesky but hopefully well-earned franchise fees? Take a look.

Cox Communications continues to battle music label BMG, seeking to have a 2015 federal jury cerdict against the privately owned cable company tossed.

According to Torrent Freak, Cox delivered testimony to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, seeking to overturn a ruling that it willfully avoided checking its internet customers as they digitally pirated music. The Virginia court awarded BMG $25 million, plus another $8.4 million in legal fees. 

RELATED: Cox ordered to pay BMG $8.4M in legal fees

BMG won the lower court verdict with a smoking gun: emails from Cox executives in which they appeared to discuss ways around rules requiring them to police their customers. Cox attorney Michael Elkin argued to a panel of Appeals Court judges this week that not only did Cox not have knowledge of the specific infringements on BMG content, the emails didn’t include Cox executives talking about the music label specifically, either. 

Judge James Wynn took exception, saying, “But they’re talking about the general abuse department in terms of, where we get these things, this is what we’re going to do with them because we don’t want to lose customers. I mean, it’s the same thing.”

For its part, BMG argued that it made it easy for Cox to better police its customers. “We also provided them with a dashboard. It’s a searchable website that they can search by most egregious repeat infringer, they can pull up every single piece of information we’ve ever provided to them, and they can play the actual songs that were downloaded,” BMG’s attorney said.

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.