Internet provider Cox Communications is responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, a Virginia federal jury has ruled. The ISP is guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and must pay music publisher BMG $25 million in damages.

cox-logoToday marks the end of a crucial case that will define how U.S. Internet providers deal with online piracy in the future.

Following a two-week trial a Virginia federal jury reached a verdict earlier today (pdf), ruling that Cox is guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement.

The case was initiated by BMG Rights Management, which held the ISP responsible for tens of thousands of copyright infringements that were committed by its subscribers.

During the trial hearings BMG revealed that the tracking company Rightscorp downloaded more than 150,000 copies of their copyrighted works directly from Cox subscribers.

It also became apparent that Cox had received numerous copyright infringement warnings from Rightscorp which it willingly decided not to act on.

The case was restricted to 1,397 copyrighted works and a six-person jury awarded #25 million in damages. The award is lower than the statutory maximum, which would have been over $200 million.

Source: Cox Is Liable for Pirating Subscribers, Ordered to pay $25 million – TorrentFreak

Apart from the sum, which is amazing, the way the information was collected (downloading directly from subscribers) is in itself a form of piracy and therefore this evidence, being illegal, must be inadmissable?