BMG had accused Cox Communications of running a shoddy system to handle suspected file sharers who are making use of Cox internet plans. Most other internet service providers in the US have signed up for the Copyright Alert System and they commit to send warning letters to the suspected file-sharers, on behalf of the owners of the copyright. Cox internet is not part of this program, but they insist that they have their own procedure to safeguard illegal file sharing.
However, BMG had demonstrated in the court that the procedures used by Cox were ineffective. They particularly presented the internal correspondence between the employees of Cox Communications that suggested the policy of Cox was to be lenient with the file sharing users, so as not to lose any of their customers.
BMG argued in court that Cox should lose their protection under the copyright law and should be held liable for the copyright infringement by their internet users. Cox was then ordered to pay a sum of twenty five million dollars to BMG for the damages caused.
Two music rights companies were originally involved in the legal action, when it was launched. The other one was Round Hill Music who joined with BMG for the ride. Cox presented may arguments to defeat the litigation and they questioned if these music rights firms actually owned the copyright of the songs in question. Cox enjoyed some success on that point and Round Hill was dropped from the action.
The news coverage was focused mainly on the success of BMG, but Cox internet has been adding up what they spent to defend the Round Hill side of the lawsuit. Cox now wants Round Hill to cover these costs, as they have gone legal even if they were not in a position to sue for the infringement.
The court filing made in Virginia said “Round Hill’s case against Cox was unreasonable from start to finish: it brought claims of copyright infringement without owning any copyrights, and it continued to pursue those claims aggressively even after Cox exposed the obvious defect on this threshold issue.”
“Round Hill’s repeated obfuscation of the facts, and the continued and aggressive pursuit of those claims after their falsehood was apparent, warrant an award to Cox of the fees Cox incurred defending against those claims. Cox invested considerable time and effort in discovery pinning down Round Hill’s elusive and false ownership claims,” the filing further said.
Cox said that Round Hill should pay at least 100,000 dollars to cover the costs of defending the lawsuit and the costs that they face in pursuing the current action.