A legal battle between American telco Cox Communications and music firm BMG is making waves this week, after a judge ruled that Cox ISN’T protected by the safe harbour provisions of the US DMCA legislation.

The case – which also involves anti-piracy firm Rightscorp, which counts BMG as a client – focuses on whether Cox should have passed on settlement letters from Rightscorp to customers accused of online piracy.

Cox had slammed Rightscorp claiming that it “shakes down ISP customers for money without regard to actual liability, and it tries to enlist ISPs in its scheme”, while describing its settleemnt letters “improper, as involving extortion and blackmail”.

Yet ahead of the main case, the judge has ruled that “Cox has not met the requirements for safe harbor under the DMCA, and thus Cox cannot assert or claim their safe harbor defense”.

The ruling means Cox enters the main trial at a disadvantage. And that’s before you consider the judge’s slapdown of an amicus brief filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge in support of the ISP. “Frankly, it sounded like my son complaining when I took his electronics away when he watched YouTube videos instead of doing homework…”

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