From Torrent Freak:

Today marks the start of a crucial trial that may define how U.S. Internet providers deal with pirating subscribers in the future.

Internet provider Cox Communications is facing a lawsuit from BMG Rights Management which accuses the ISP of failing to terminate the accounts of subscribers who frequently pirate content.

BMG claimed that Cox gave up its DMCA safe harbor protections due to this inaction, something District Court Judge Liam O’Grady agreed on last week in a summary judgment.

This order puts the Internet provider at a severe disadvantage while facing millions of dollars in damages. In a memorandum published a few hours ago Judge Liam O’Grady justified his decision.

According to the court there is enough evidence to conclude that Cox did not terminate the access of repeat infringers under appropriate circumstances.

“The record conclusively establishes that before the fall of 2012 Cox did not implement its repeat infringer policy. Instead, Cox publicly purported to comply with its policy, while privately disparaging and intentionally circumventing the DMCA’s requirements,” the memorandum (pdf) reads.

Judge O’Grady notes that Cox had a policy in place to deal with repeat infringers, but that in reality these users would simply be reconnected upon request. They would then start over with a clean slate.

“Cox employees followed an unwritten policy put in place by senior members of Cox’s abuse group by which accounts used to repeatedly infringe copyrights would be nominally terminated, only to be reactivated upon request.”

“Once these accounts were reactivated, customers were…

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