I very rarely line up on the side of corporate behemoths, especially those who pay artists pennies on the dollar for the soul and sweat that goes into their music, but in this case I generally agree with BMG’s suit against Cox Communications over its lax infringement protocols against repeat infringers. While it might be better for BMG to spend its money on digital streaming royalty transparency and fairness than essentially going after end users in an attenuated fashion, the message is clear, whether it is coming from BMG or Taylor Swift vs. Spotify: “our content has value.”
One result of the BMG suit could be a settlement in which Cox agrees to bring its safe harbor compliance in line with every other ISP (the “Six Strikes” rule), thus putting pressure on end users to clean up their individual acts or face service termination. Another result could be that the entire thing blows up in BMG’s face and a detrimental precedent is set against content owners.
I can’t say I entirely disagree with BMG’s position because the pendulum has swung in my opinion too far towards a permissive attitude about unfettered infringement and its negative implications on the incentives that give us art in the first place.