Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Businesses should take steps to protect against repeat infringers

In previous posts we have written about the importance of taking steps to prevent infringement of intellectual property. The failure to do so can negatively impact the business. As it turns out, there could be other ramifications as well, such as frustration on the part of courts with businesses these businesses. This is illustrated in the recent decision against Cox Communications, by a federal court.

The decision denies the business the safe harbor from copyright liability it sought, due to not taking action to implement a repeat-infringer policy. Because of this the ISP will actually have to mount a defense to claims brought by a music publisher. Specifically Cox will have to address its failure to kick customers off who are pirates via blocking or terminating accounts, failing to forward infringement notices and ignoring and not forwarding infringement notices.

The matter could go to trial. How it will resolved if it does, is unclear. Regardless of the outcome, it is likely parties would appeal the decision. There are also potentially ramifications that could arise involving insurance.

Of course, this situation may have been avoided if Cox had implemented a repeat-infringer policy. The policy would make it easy for the business to know what steps need to be taken if content owners and their agents received copyright notices. As is the case with most intellectual property matters, a lawyer who has knowledge of the topic can be of assistance in doing this as well as litigation that arises because of the absence of such a policy.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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