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 an intellectual-property litigator. He handles lawsuits, arbitrations, emergency injunctions and temporary restraining orders, opposition and cancellation proceedings, uniform dispute resolution proceedings (UDRPs), pre-litigation counseling, litigation avoidance, and other disputes, relating to copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, domain names, technology and intellectual-property licenses, and various privacy rights. He has taught Copyright Law at Vanderbilt University Law School. He co-founded Aaron | Sanders with Tara Aaron-Stelluto in 2011.