CCIA, CTA Ask Appeals Court To Review, Correctly Apply Copyright Liability Legal Protections For Internet Service Providers

BY Heather Greenfield
November 14, 2016

Washington – In a closely watched case about online service providers’ responsibility for users who infringe copyright, two tech trade associations defended the Internet service provider, Cox, in a court brief today.  

The brief advocated for clear secondary liability standards and strong DMCA safe harbors. The associations argued that Cox was wrongly held liable for not policing Internet content and that the lower court also erred in not giving Cox immunity under existing law. The Computer & Communications Industry Association and Consumer Technology Association filed an amicus brief asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ruling and correct errors regarding when copyright liability can be imposed on providers of staple services and devices.

The brief explains how the district court incorrectly told the jury that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was not an issue in the case. The DMCA limits companies’ liability for what users do on their sites, so long as they respond quickly and remove content when it’s reported to contain infringing material. The DMCA is one of the underpinnings of the Internet that enable users to post comments and material instantly without a company, website or app checking or censoring it first.

CCIA has fought for balanced copyright laws for more than two decades. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“It is critical in a democracy that juries and our legal system correctly follow existing copyright law on secondary liability. U.S. copyright law is balanced with liability protections for companies to respond quickly to infringement without resorting to policing all online sharing and commentary for copyright infringement. We value free speech and what it represents and it would be unwise to abandon that principle and balance for extremist copyright enforcement measures.”

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