March 29, 2024

Fighting for the Right to Internet: Amicus Brief in Sony v. Cox

This month, we filed a joint amicus brief with the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the latest round of appeals in Sony v. Cox. Together with our allies, we argue that, if allowed to stand, the court’s decision “will force ISPs to terminate more subscribers with less justification,” which has the potential to break the internet by blocking service without warning. 

People increasingly rely on internet service for everything from applying for jobs to binging shows to attending school. In the original case, a group of record labels sued Cox Communications for piracy infringement, claiming Cox was responsible for any piracy on the part of its users and ordering the ISP to pay $1 billion to the labels. Although Cox won on first appeal, both sides are now asking the court to rehear the case.

As our joint brief notes, internet access is essential to participation in economic, cultural, and social activity. It is also often hard to come by – 75 million people in the US have only one choice of internet service provider. If that provider cuts them off, they have no other options for getting online. We don’t ban everyone from driving because some people speed – and what goes for physical roads should go for the information superhighway, too. 

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