Rick has blogged pretty extensively about BMG v. Cox Communications, including two about why the “Sony Betamax Rule,” as commonly understood, didn’t apply. Those ideas are now distilled into a single article over at Copyright and New Media Law (vol. 21, iss. 2, Summer 2017), called Redefining Secondary Liability: BMG v. Cox Communications.  As a bonus, the article has been well-edited. It might even be informative and relevant to your interests. The thesis is that the “Sony Betamax Rule,” i.e., that you won’t be liable for contributory copyright liability just because you provide a product that contributes materially to copyright infringement, provided your product is capable of substantial non-infringing uses, isn’t a blanket rule. To make sense of BMG v. Cox Communications, either we must break down the barrier between contributory and vicarious infringement (which would be truly radical) or limit the Sony Betamax Rule to just instances of imputed knowledge.

If you’d like to read it, here’s a link. Rick welcomes your comments.

Rick cautions that, the last time he published an article about a district court decision, the decision was reversed on appeal and the article immediately became meaningless. If you think BMG v Cox Communications was wrongly decided, you should hope that this “curse” continues.

Rick Sanders

Rick is the litigation half of Aaron & Sanders, PLLC; and, from 2012 to 2014, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was teaching Copyright Law. Vandy also happens to be where he got his law degree in 2000. After graduation, he practiced at a major intellectual-property law firm in Silicon Valley for a few years. He returned to Nashville in 2004, where he worked for a large Nashville firm, practicing as much intellectual-property law as he could, but also a lot of commercial law. He left that firm in 2011 to start Aaron & Sanders with Tara Aaron, so he could practice intellectual-property law full time and work with start-ups and other non-institutional clients.