From Torrent Freak:

On Thursday following a two-week trial, a Virginia federal jury ruled that US-based ISP Cox Communications could be held liable for piracy carried out by its users.

After failing to act on copyright infringement warnings sent by anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp on behalf of music publisher BMG, Cox was found guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and ordered to pay $25 million in damages.

At the time of writing Cox is considering its options, including the possibility of appeal, but should the ruling stand the piracy landscape in the United States could be changed forever.

Internet service providers

Firstly, rival Internet service providers such as Comcast are likely to be somewhat nervous about how this decision will affect them and how they will be expected to handle copyright complaints in the future.

During the BMG case the judge found that Cox’s repeat infringer policy was lacking, so much so that it that meant the company lost its safe harbor protections under the DMCA.

It is now likely that if they haven’t already done so, major ISPs will be scrambling to have very clear repeat infringer processes committed to paper and have their employees follow them to the letter. After the decision this week, any one of them could be beaten with the same stick used to beat Cox.

The big question, however, is exactly how repeat infringers will be handled and what their ultimate punishment will be. In the Cox case the clear suggestion was that there needed to be not…

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