The internet has a huge piracy problem. It's illegal and immoral, and if you're caught it could end up costing you thousands of dollars in fines and fees. Piracy is such a problem that Microsoft retains the right to disable your program if they catch you using pirated material.
A recent copyright lawsuit has internet providers scrambling to come up with ways of dealing with it. I'll give you details of the case and how it could affect you in the future.
File sharing in North America has been on the rise for years. It increased 44 percent from 2008 to 2014 and is expected to grow another 51 percent by 2019.
Cox Communications was ordered by a federal judge last week to pay a $25 million dollar penalty to the music rights management company, BMG. A jury found Cox liable last year for illegal movie and music downloads by its customers.
BMG had enlisted Rightscorp to track the internet for illegal filesharing activity. If Rightscorp found evidence of file sharing they would notify the internet provider. The ISP was then expected to pass the notices on to its subscribers.
In the lawsuit, BMG accused Cox of slowing down the process and not notifying the affected customers. The court ruled that Cox is liable because it knew subscribers were pirating copyrighted material and also took actions contributing to it.
The ruling sets a precedent that could open the door for more liability claims against other internet service providers. That could force internet providers to crack down on clients by closely monitoring and controlling their activity.
This could have a huge impact on internet providers across the country. We will have to wait to see how it affects subscribers down the road.