Cox Won't Spy On Customers To Appease Copyright Holders

Cox Communications is standing up for its subscribers by so far refusing to spy on their online activities and take legal action against those who download copyrighted material. That stand has already cost the ISP $25 million, the amount a Virginia federal jury recently came up with when it ruled that Cox was responsible for the activities of those using its service, and it could cost Cox even more.

The ruling against Cox took place last December. Since then, music publisher BMG has followed up by asking a court to issue a permanent injunction against Cox. BMG also wants the ISP to boot customers who have pirated content and share the details of those subscribers with copyright holders.

It doesn't stop there. On top of it all, BMG wants Cox to be proactive in preventing future infringement, and while the details of how it would do that remain unclear, the topic of deep packet inspection technology has come up. Despite all this, Cox is holding firm on its position.

Cox Truck

"To the extent the injunction requires either termination or surveillance, it imposes undue hardships on Cox, both because the order is vague and because it imposes disproportionate, intrusive, and punitive measures against households and businesses with no due process," Cox stated in its reply.

To be clear, Cox isn't advocating illegal behavior, nor is it trying to defend those who infringe on copyrights. The concern is that BMG wants Cox to spy on its subscribers willy-nilly with no regard to circumstances. In its reply, Cox points out that BMG's demand completely ignores false positive hits, as could be the case if a person's PC was infected with malware or if someone's network password was stolen.

"The injunction also threatens the public interest, blindly punishing consumers by terminating their Internet accounts based on mere accusations, with no due process. The injunction provides no opportunity for customers to respond to accusations or submit counter notices, and it raises the specter that they may lose Internet access with a single notice," Cox continues.

Cox also takes issue with BMG wanting to force the disclosure of private customers details to Rightscorp, "a company with a long track record of using deception and unlawful tactics."