(credit: Rightscorp)

A Virginia federal jury watching a high-profile copyright case reached a verdict (PDF) today, ordering Cox Communications to pay $25 million to BMG Rights Management for turning a blind eye to music piracy. The company's behavior amounted to a willfully infringed copyright in the eyes of the jury.

The verdict comes at the close of a two-week trial, which took place after US District Judge Liam O'Grady issued an opinion slamming Cox's behavior, saying that the ISP isn't protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act "safe harbor" because the company did not "reasonably implement" a policy to terminate repeat infringers.

Today's verdict is a huge victory for BMG and its copyright enforcer, Rightscorp. The Rightscorp business model is based on sending massive numbers of copyright notices via email and asking for $20 or $30 per song "settlements" from users believed to have pirated songs. While Rightscorp wasn't a named plaintiff in the suit, BMG's case was based on evidence produced by Rightscorp, which says it found the IP addresses of the worst Cox infringers.

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