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Rogers Provides New Evidence on Effectiveness of Notice-and-Notice System

This provides solid evidence that notice-and-notice is effective in countering repeat infringement. Although the CRIA-backed Balanced Copryright for Canada group mistakenly claimed this means that one third of alleged infringers receive at least three notices, the reality is that the Rogers data suggests that 67% of recipients (which is already only five percent of subscribers) do not repeat infringe after receiving a notice and 89% cease allegedly infringing activity after a second notice. Within two notices, about 99% of Rogers subscribers are not receiving infringement notifications. 

Those numbers are very similar to data from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, which found that 71% of notice recipients did not place an infringing file back on BitTorrent systems (though the ESAC chose to focus on the 29% that did repeat infringe, the numbers are consistent with Rogers’ experience). Similarly, the Business Software Association told the CBC in 2006 that the notice-and-notice approach has “been most effective.” Further, these numbers are also similar to the piracy reduction targets that the UK government has set and which have been lauded by some Canadian rights holders.

The Rogers data does leave about 1% of its subscribers as repeat infringing after two notices (the number drops far below 1% after the third notice).  While some rights holders will claim that this shows there is a need for severe consequences for the tiny fraction of users that ignore notices, the reality is the opposite is true. If any notice system is designed to educate the public and discourage infringement, it is readily apparent that notice-and-notice works extremely well since it is a tiny part of the population that seemingly ignores the notification. Moreover, if there are a couple of outliers in the population – the Rogers data showed about 1 in 800,000 at the extreme end of the spectrum of several dozen notices to a single household – there is absolutely nothing to stop the rights holder from taking legal action against those individuals. There is no need to threatens tens of thousands with cutting off Internet access, when rights holders are perfectly capable of taking action against the (literally) handful of people that repeatedly infringe at the extreme end of the scale.

The committee discussion also touched on the digital lock rules in Bill C-32. Rogers indicated that it supported some digital locks, but that it is opposed to copy control provisions in C-32 that would prevent Canadians from engaging in common consumer activities such as format shifting, time shifting, and backup copies. The ISP opposition to the current C-32 digital lock approach was echoed in the second C-32 panel, where the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Canadian Library Association both called for the right to circumvent for non-infringing purposes. In fact, the CLA said the bill is “fundamentally flawed” without such a change.  While Bill C-32 seems set to die on the order paper, there will undoubtedly be another copyright bill with another government and the information on the effectiveness of notice-and-notice – as well as the steadfast opposition to the C-32 digital lock approach – must be taken into account.

27 Comments

  1. Effective? Doubtful….
    I think it’s more likely that the repeat offenders learn their lesson and either a) learn how to disguise their downloading habits from snooping ISPs, or b) move to a different non-skeevy ISP who doesn’t eavesdrop on their communications.

  2. Alternatives.
    @Guido I doubt that the ISPs are really eavesdropping to the extent that they are sending out the notices. I’d say it’s more along the lines of some RIAA grunt grabbing a Torrent file and getting a list of all the peers then issuing blanket Copyright infringement notices to the ISPs.

    Those who don’t know how to cover their tracks stop “stealing”, those who know how just switch to an alternative service that uses some form of security to simply hide the contents of what they are downloading.

  3. Cancelling service…
    If an ISP has to cancel a users service then they lose a customer. The ISPs want people downloading lots of data (UBB overages are good for business as we’ve learned) and they want people downloading on their network. Notice and Notice allows them to slap wrists without losing customers.

  4. There could be another correlation that the isp’s aren’t pointing out. If someone recieves a notice, they now realize they were being watched. I’m sure some people stop downloading, most everyone else probably finds a better way to do it anonymously….


  5. So Rogers support my format shifting from my Rogers DVR to my ipod?

  6. Simple equations
    Need I point out the obvious once again … An increase in affordable legal access & services will produce a decrease in illegal infringement.

  7. @Guido

    The ISP’s don’t eavesdrop to figure out who to send notices to, many copyright holders monitor bittorrent and record the IP’s of someone downloading. Then they send a notice to the ISP with the IP of the infringer, the ISP will do lookups to see who owned it and forwards the notice.


  8. @Chris: “I’d say it’s more along the lines of some RIAA grunt grabbing a Torrent file and getting a list of all the peers then issuing blanket Copyright infringement notices to the ISPs.”

    Yes, that’s how it works. RIAA/MPAA hire some shady companies to “monitor” P2P traffic and report IP addresses they see there. Even more, in certain cases some of these companies were caught placing the files themselves as “bait”.

    As for “95% of its subscribers are not identified by rights holders as copyright infringers”. I’m curious about Tekksavy’s statistics. ;-)

    Nap.

  9. A semi-bitter farewell …
    Well, let me be the first to say a somewhat bitter farewell to Bill C-32. According to news reports it is all but certain a federal election is looming meaning C-32 will die a premature death.

    There were obvious flaws, the foremost being the digital lock trumping and apparently the need for greater clarity in fair use exemptions. Both of these were addressable, and the rest of the bill mostly acceptable.

    My hope is the next time around a more holistic approach to our whole digital economy will be considered.

  10. .
    You mean rogers actually is doing something right and is opposing some aspects of digital locking? How can this be…

    They must have been drunk.

  11. Micheal, once again your logic is flawed. Just because rogers receives notices for 5% of their subscribers doesn’t mean the other 95% are not copyright infringers. It simply means the copyright holders are not prepared to send notices to more than the first 207 000 infringers. Do you seriously believe that a notice is sent to every single infringer big and small? Sometimes I’m not sure if you try to purposely mislead the debate, or if you just don’t understand the issues.

  12. Computer scientist says:

    Dr. Geist, thanks for your coverage of C-32
    Dr. Geist, as a computer scientist I want to thank you for your tireless defense of computer scientists and our needs for exceptions re: anti-circumvention, free/open-source software, and encryption research.

    “Sometimes I’m not sure if you try to purposely mislead the debate, or if you just don’t understand the issues.”

    Disagreeing with someone does not give you the right to make personal attacks. Also, attacks aren’t going to be taken seriously when you hide behind an anonymous label.

  13. Trademark Litigation says:

    Similar story
    Here is a similar story

    Bill C-32 looks to be headed for the dustbin if Canada heads into an election this week, but the C-32 committee is still ongoing until someone pulls the plug on the current Parlimentary session. Rogers, Telus, and Bell appeared yesterday and the discussion unsurprisingly focused on the notice-and-notice approach currently used by ISPs and codified within the bill.


  14. @ip cop:

    What’s flawed is this medieval relic called “copyright”. It should be abolished.

    Nap.


  15. Copyright (and other “IP”) law works like a deforming mirror. When you look at reality through it, everything looks crooked and flawed. Instead of deforming reality so it gets “straightened” in the mirror, how about breaking the mirror instead.

    Or are we prisoners in a mirrors room.

    Nap.

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  17. Computer scientist, I’m glad you didn’t post anonymously. Did you want my phone number? Will that you feel better?

    Also, I think my question is valid of dr. Geist. He really skews the facts to suit his arguments to the extreme sometimes.

  18. inaccurate says:

    How many of these notices got sent to network printers.

  19. “Micheal, once again your logic is flawed. Just because rogers receives notices for 5% of their subscribers doesn’t mean the other 95% are not copyright infringers. It simply means the copyright holders are not prepared to send notices to more than the first 207 000 infringers. Do you seriously believe that a notice is sent to every single infringer big and small? Sometimes I’m not sure if you try to purposely mislead the debate, or if you just don’t understand the issues.”

    Well then, that means the copyright holder are obviously too lazy to actually defends against anything when it requires actual effort. By all mean, let’s give them notice and takedown so they don’t have to expel thought.

    Of course, your assumption is based on a premise of copyright infringement/sales/everything else that has been made inaccurate by several studies.

  20. Computer scientist says:

    “Computer scientist, I’m glad you didn’t post anonymously.”

    My post thanked Dr. Geist, your post was a personal attack that you didn’t have the guts to attach your real name to.

    It’s a good thing I can post anonymously. I’ve seen the way Sookman, Gannon, and Degen harass Dr. Geist, Russell McOrmond, and other concerned citizens.

    “Did you want my phone number? Will that you feel better?”

    Your name would be preferable, along with your credentials.

    “Also, I think my question is valid of dr. Geist.”

    Since no one else has bothered to expose your specious argument, I’ll bite:

    “Micheal, once again your logic is flawed. Just because rogers receives notices for 5% of their subscribers doesn’t mean the other 95% are not copyright infringers.”

    The number of subscribers Rogers receives notices for has no relationship to notice-and-notice.

    Notice-and-notice (A) is being compared with
    (B) notice-and-takedown
    (C) three-strikes

    A, B and C all differ in the action taken upon receiving a notice; one system does not allow rightsholders to send more notices.

    As you can see, it is your logic that is flawed.

    “It simply means the copyright holders are not prepared to send notices to more than the first 207 000 infringers. Do you seriously believe that a notice is sent to every single infringer big and small?”

    If you’ve read this for the past few weeks, you’ll know that Dr. Geist has been arguing this very point. It is untrue that rightsholders are legally incapable of sending notices of infringement; it’s that they are choosing not to do so.

    Once again, a notice-and-takedown system or 3-strikes system will not give you the sudden ability to send out more notices of infringement. They are completely unrelated.

    “Sometimes I’m not sure if you try to purposely mislead the debate, or if you just don’t understand the issues.”

    Spare us the personal attacks.

    Purposely misleading the debate? You mean like claiming that the response to notices is somehow tied to the volume you’re able to send?

    Doesn’t understand the issues? He has a Doctorate in Law. He is a law professor. He is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law

    “He really skews the facts to suit his arguments to the extreme sometimes.”

    You mean like James Gannon’s claim that “only” access controls are covered by anti-circumvention for fair-dealing (see http://jamesgannon.ca/2010/11/09/tpms-a-comprehensive-guide-for-canadian-copyright-law/)?

    I’ve been reading this blog for several years now, and I’ve found Dr. Geist to be straightforward and honest.

    Dr. Geist, thanks again for all your hard work.

  21. Just to clarify
    I read this blog like many of you because I enjoy the contents. The majority of which makes sense and I would agree with. However, there are times when I don’t accept the comments simply because Dr. Geist makes them. To Computer scientist, My comments are not about which system is better, notice and notice, notice and take-down, etc. They really are about Dr. Geist stating “In other words, 95% of its subscribers are not identified by rights holders as copyright infringers – far from the piracy haven that it often claimed.” I don’t believe you can say because notices were sent to only %5 of the subscribers, there are no other infringers amongst the remaining 95% of the subscribers or that these numbers show Canada is not a Piracy haven, as it is often claimed. Maybe after sending 207 000 letters, the rights holders stopped sending them due to cost or some other reason, I don’t know. One more thing, to you Mr. Computer Scientist…You know how the internet works right? This isn’t my blog, so I get to read the publicly available content here and I get to provide my opnion or comments on it…That’s why this is called the comments section. I can give a name like bob s., steve smith or even computer scientist. I have asked Michael to add a Credential block within in his comments section for all future posters so that you can know, simply from their self written credentials who the experts are. If you want to comment on my comments next time at least get them straight…Never said half of what you claim I did for example…”He really skews the facts to suit his arguments to the extreme sometimes.” Find something like that in my comments for me would ya. Or your other comments, “Purposely misleading the debate? You mean like claiming that the response to notices is somehow tied to the volume you’re able to send?” No wonder you send anonymous posts…


  22. The guys with “credentials” please write papers in scientific journals. This is an open forum, you post your opinion and the readers decide if it makes sense or not.

    Nap.

  23. Emmanuel Goldstein says:

    Right to Repair vs Criminalization of cracking a digital lock
    When Harper makes it illegal to open a digital lock, he will kill the aftermarket car parts industry and the small repair shops.
    There are computer chips in every car nowadays, and if you want to save money and have your car fixed or upgraded by a knowledgeable specialty shop and not a major dealer, then they often have to get past a digital lock to fix your car.
    Harper, again, is giving favours to big business and kicking small business in the pants.
    For more info:
    http://careauto.org/sp.aboutcare.details.html#whatiscare
    http://www.righttorepair.org/about/coalition.aspx

    When you buy something, you ought to be able to muck around with it. This is the way it has always been. Now, these control freaks want to stop you from using your programmable calculators to do more complex things, as well as hundreds of other handheld devices. There’s an exemption for cellphones, but what about brand new devices like tablets? A tablet is a computer, and now it will be illegal to gain root (administrator) access to your own computer, making you face a 2 year jail term!!
    As technology progresses and more powerful computers take all kinds of new forms and get embedded in unheard-of devices, who knows what Harper’s new laws will put you in jail for? For reconfiguring the default timer settings on your crock pot or rice cooker? For broadening the speeds available on your electric toothbrush? For reprogramming the song on an electric greeting card?

    These are the natural consequences of criminalising normal legitimate activities, simply to do a favour for Big Media and the Automotive industry.

    See also:
    http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/

  24. Marvin Goldberg says:

    207,000 total notices
    The average kid has more than 207,000 MP3′s.

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