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Canadian ISPs Responding to Copyright Notices By Adding Information on Notice System, Privacy Concerns

The revelations that Rightscorp has been using the new copyright notice-and-notice system to force Internet providers to forward notifications with false copyright law information and demands for payment sparked considerable concern among many Canadian Internet users. In my post on the issue, I suggested two responses.  First, the introduction of government regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices and creating penalties for those companies that send notices with false or misleading information.  Second, Internet service providers adding their own information to the notices, advising their subscribers on the true state of Canadian law and reassuring them that they have not disclosed their personal information to the notice sender.

While there has been no response from the government, some Canadian ISPs are providing their subscribers with much-needed context. For example, TechAeris has posted the message provided by Shaw Cablesystems, which states:

Dear Subscriber

Content owners that hold property rights for material such as movies, music and other content, actively monitor Internet activity to protect their rights. We have been notified by a content owner that your Internet Protocol (IP) address has been associated with suspected copyright infringement. As part of new Canadian copyright legislation*, we are obliged to forward to you the attached copy of the content owner’s notice. We are unaware of the full details and merit of this infringement claim. If you have questions concerning this matter, please contact the content owner directly – contact information is listed in the attached notice.

Infringement of copyright laws may result in the content owner pursuing remedies available under applicable laws to protect its interests. We encourage enabling secured passwords on your home Wi-Fi network if you have one to avoid unauthorized use of your Internet connection.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Please see the link below for more information:

http://balancedcopyright.gc.ca/eic/site/crp-prda.nsf/eng/home
Sincerely,
Shaw Cablesystems G.P.

Start Communications, a London-based ISP, states:

Subject: Copyright Infringement Notice

Re: Account with Start Communications (Account #1234567)

We have received a copyright infringement notice on behalf of Some Copyright Holder Inc., regarding Some Title which was allegedly downloaded from 555.555.555.555 on 2015-01-07 at 12:34:56. As part of Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act which came into effect January 2015, we are legally obligated to pass this attached notice from the copyright holder on to you as well as store the notice for 6 months. To be clear, Start Communications has not provided any of your information to the copyright holder and we do not monitor your activity for any violations.

We have included some reference links about copyright law in Canada, including our legal obligations:

- »news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=858069
- »www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/crp-prda.n···153.html
- »www.balancedcopyright.gc.ca

Sincerely,

Service Desk
Start Communications
519-434-5888 / 1-877-78-START
www.start.ca

TorrentFreak has posted the message from Bell Aliant:

From: Copyright Notification 

Date: Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at XX:XX

Subject: Important notice regarding your Internet activity [******]

The Government of Canada requires by law that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) let their clients know when content owners contact them about possible unauthorized use of the content owner’s material such as illegal downloading of music, videos and games. As a result, we must let you know that we have received the below notification related to your account.

We want to assure you that Bell Aliant as your Internet Service Provider played no part in the identification of possible unauthorized use of content but are only passing on the owner’s message as required by law.

If you have any questions or need clarification please contact the content owner directly. For more information on why you received this notice visit http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=858069 . Thank you for your cooperation.

These are a good start, but TekSavvy’s proposed message provides even more detail and reassures subscribers on the status of their personal information.  Yesterday, TekSavvy’s CEO Marc Gaudrault posted a sample message the company is considering including with the notice:

Subject: Notice of claimed copyright infringement

Body:

Hello,

TekSavvy has received what the Copyright Act calls a “notice of claimed infringement”. It listed an IP address and time. Our systems indicate that the IP address listed in the notice was likely assigned to your account at the specified time. We are therefore legally required to forward the notice to you. The notice is reproduced, unaltered, below.

First, though, there are some things you should know:

(a) We haven’t told the sender who you are. Your privacy is paramount to us. We don’t track, or know, what you do. We do know what IP address we assigned to you within the last 30 days. But we don’t provide personal information like that to anyone unless a court orders us to — and we have not done so here. The notice was simply received by us, and we have forwarded it electronically on to you.

(b) We are an intermediary that is required to forward this notice to you. We do not, and cannot, verify its contents or its sender. However, a private party’s notice does not mean there has been any legal ruling. Only a court can do that.

(c) It is good practice to make sure you secure your account. Your wireless router should be password-protected; the password should be changed regularly; and those who have the password should maintain good virus protection. Your MyAccount allows you to check your bandwidth usage: do so regularly, and make sure what is happening and what you think is happening line up.

(d) We retain IP address information for 30 days. If your modem has not been powered off during that period, then we may have IP address information going back to the last time you did. In addition to requiring us to forward this notice, the Copyright Act also requires us to retain the records matching the IP address and time to your account for six months. If the people who sent the notice apply to a court, they can require us to hold it for longer.

We have provided some links below. The notice, which we are required to forward unaltered, follows.

Copyright Act (see, especially, sections 41.25-26):
»laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/

TekSavvy:
»teksavvy.com/en/why-teksavvy/pol···y-policy
»myaccount.teksavvy.com/

Automated translation (you may need to copy and paste):
»translate.google.com/?hl=fr
»www.bing.com/translator/

— Forwarded Notice of Infringement follows:

*snip this is where their notice is added*

This is precisely the kind of the information that ISPs should be providing their subscribers, though action to stop misleading or inaccurate notices along with settlement demands in notices is still needed. It remains to be seen how some of the other major ISPs handle the notice-and-notice issue.

39 Comments

  1. Rightscorp lawyers need to be reported to their law society for removal of their licenses.

  2. Rightscorp lawyers are MAFIA!

  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    Sure, it’s nice to see some providers adding this kind of information, but why the hell do none of these examples include a correction to the misstated laws??

    You’d think that would be the first thing they’d want to clear up.

    • What “misstated laws”?
      Notices of alleged copyright infringement were sent, no claims were filed in any Canadian Federal Court, nor did the notice make any claims that any legal actions would be filed in Canada.

      • I think he’s referring to the tendency for the notices being forwarded to reference maximum legal penalties based on US precedent ($150,000 I believe) which aren’t applicable in Canada according to the Copyright Act – maximum penalty for an individual here is $5,000. It’s essentially a scare tactic to pressure people into paying them a nominal fee directly, thus revealing their identity as well as avoiding the need to substantiate their accusation with evidence.

        • Our copyright act is clear and understandable language Colin, the max you mentioned is for personal non-commercial Uses. Up load / share on the net no more cap applies.

          • Devil's Advocate says:

            “Commercial” infringement would be next to impossible to prove and would not get them $150K in Canada. Participating in a torrent doesn’t automatically qualify as such, and neither does the act of simply “making available”.

            The $5K cap is all they can hope to expect on this side of the border.

            All Canadian providers are aware that the Rightscorp-style letter contains outright lies intended to scare the pants off the majority of their customers (who will not know any better at this point) into quick settlements. That’s the mission RIghtscorp is on. They know having to go to court on any of it is futile.

            For the benefit of the majority of their subscribers, who surely deserve to know the truth, providers should be either including their own letter correcting the false information or refusing to forward the Rightcorp letter until supplied with a revised one that reflects reality.

      • Devil's Advocate says:

        The laws that are misstated in the Rightscorp notices.
        They’re quoting laws that are not applicable in Canada, including the threat of huge damage charges.

        My concern was that the providers referred to in this post didn’t even bother to touch on the fact that, although they’re forwarding the notices unaltered, there are some serious discrepancies their customers should totally be aware of.

        • ISP are and should remain neutral; they are not lawyers certainly not judges and shouldn’t be given anyone legal advise.

          • Typo up there – given should be giving.

          • Devil's Advocate says:

            Being neutral has nothing to do with properly informing their customers.

            Forwarding false information is more of a disservice to those customers. Hardly a neutral act.

  4. Wasn’t there a decision in the courts that the courts would have to review settlement letters sent to those they have identified as infringing copyright ? The fact that they are using the wording from a settlement letter for notice to notice isn’t this basically breaking the courts decision ? Should they not be held accountable for exploiting and basically going against the courts decision ? I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Why do we allow these racketeering practices to continue ? Shouldn’t these guys be spending an equal amount of time behind bars for idle threats. When are we going to say enough is enough and stop letting corporations shape our nation and our neighbors to the south. When was the last time parliament passed laws that were for the people by the people (constituents) and not just for profit and corporate interests ?

    • “Wasn’t there a decision in the courts that the courts would have to review settlement letters sent to those they have identified as infringing copyright ? ”

      No; the court order I think you’re referring to was for a specific case, Voltage.

      • Should that not have set precedence for future situations of this nature ? I know it’s not specific but couldn’t they use that court case to stop this tactic in it’s tracks ? I apologize for my ignorance, I’m more tech savy then law savy so your input is appreciated :)

        • Voltage is considered by many as “trolls”. When the Norwich order was granted safe guards were put in place so to ensure Voltage acted appropriately in the enforcement of its rights. Not every Rights holder is a troll Hermes so it would make no sense to have the same conditions placed on every case of alleged copyright infringement.

          • Devil's Advocate says:

            Rightscorp IS a known troll.
            Cases have been filed against them in the U.S.
            The name is only new to Canada.

            Pretty much any 3rd party legal firm acting as some other company’s “IP enforcer” is a troll. The very business model creates the need to troll.

          • Devil's Advocate says:

            “Not every Rights holder is a troll…”

            True statement. Just as…
            1) Not every creator is a rights holder.
            2) Not every rights holder hires a troll.

            The problem is…
            3) Very few trolls are actual rights holders.
            4) All trolling literally abuses the law at the expense of others, while achieving no societal benefit, and serving in others’ effort to break the Internet,

    • Saying enough is enough is often not enough. This law has only very recently come into effect, and we are only now finding a new set of abuses. It will still take a while to find effective countermeasures.

      • I understand this but why is the government so busy trying to protect corporate interest at the expense of their populace ? I can’t understand how they can’t see the calamity in the long run this is going to cause as they back people more and more into the corners with these stupid laws. Just like the US stupid policy on their war on drugs they have create similar situation with their attack on technology and the freedom of sharing information regardless of subject matter at hand the end result is destroying the lives of the innocent while the corrupt continue to get away with their blue collar crimes and the rich keep getting richer. They do realize incarcerating their consumer base or bankrupting them has no net benefit for a consumerist society. Dystopia hello..goodbye Utopia. Anyway my rant from a decade of watching from the side lines. Thanks for the feedback.

        • Hermes – if you’re in Montreal and have legal questions you can always contact the McGill Legal Clinic:
          http://licm.mcgill.ca/

        • Hermes: Protecting corporate interests is so much more than dealing with copyright. White (not blue) collar crime brings a level of legal sophistication to the table that most individuals are incapable of grasping. In a technical sense some of their actions may even be legal. The ordinary law-abiding individual reads a statutory provision, or more often an interpretation of that provision, and looks for ways to comply. Others read the same statute, and look for ways to keep doing what they have always done, legally if possible. If the legality is unclear they will choose the interpretation most likely to support their activities, and leave it to the courts to decide. Shifting the burden of proof to the side with fewer resources can be very effective. There’s so much more to law than what’s written in the statutes.

          • You are telling me :S Well at least it looks like the government might nip this one in the butt pretty quick even if it’s just for political points with the coming election. Ah I do miss that minority government.

  5. What’s with all the “you should secure your wifi”? Fact is, almost every time an unsecure wifi has been raised as a defence in court it has resulted in the case being dismissed. An IP address is not a person. Do you want Internet freedom? Then keep your wifi open!

  6. Devil's Advocate says:

    So far, I see no real comment from Bell, Rogers or Telus as to how they intend to handle these notices.

  7. @Devil’s Advocate – I’m 2L student of law at McGill. It would be much more useful for you (and less annoying for me) that you play all-knowing law guru with someone.
    And before someone on here actually gives credit to your latest comment, “making available” is NOT personal Uses and the cap you keep referring to won’t apply if the content is up loaded to the net.

    • Devil's Advocate says:

      I have no idea why you should be so hot under the collar, or why you’re resorting to hyperbole.

      I’m only saying what has already been established, and trying to use logic on what that doesn’t cover as of yet. (We should all be exercising our logic on something like this, and adding that to the equation.)

      Okay, so you’re a STUDENT. And you have no idea who I am. Logically, you should be as careful when stating something as fact as you somehow think I am not being. You don’t appear to be doing that. As a “2L student”, you should know how important it is to check your facts before attacking someone else.

      There are 2 glaringly false statements on the RIghtscorp notice…
      1) The user being liable for up to $150,000 per infringement.
      2) The user being subject to losing an internet connection.

      These 2 statements are FALSE, regardless of whether you think they are. They are false, even in the face of some miraculous spin into the “commercial infringement” world (which would only award slightly better anyway – possibly double, but not $150,000 per).

      They are false, and those yet-to-be-educated subscribers should be informed they are false. It would be appropriate if the providers involved recognized that. Doing so may also save them from a large headache later, when their customers all start calling in about it, or even taking them to court for the damage caused by willing forwarding false information.

      Uploading does not automatically count as “making available” or “commercial” sharing. Uploading (one word, not two, by the way) is a necessary function of internet communications, whether for “legal” or “illegal” purposes. Torrenting, by nature, involves uploading, and doesn’t automatically qualify as “making available” (as referring to infringement), and “making available” does not automatically qualify as “commercial” infringement.

      These are facts, as law currently stands, and applicable to the way networking actually functions (which does differ with the propaganda we’re being fed). Repeatedly saying different won’t change that.

      I can’t see what you’re having a problem with.
      Most of what I’m commenting on has to do with what providers are choosing to do with the Rightscorp notices, and not the applicable “absolutes” of Canadian Law. You need to get over yourself.

  8. So I am wondering what about VPN’s that use Canadian servers ? Do they need to keep records?

    • Given the government’s past confused history with internet matters, this is unusually fast action.

  9. So the harper cons set out to help everyone; they wanted to create a law to stop the downloading and to force the cable and tv providers to give us choices in what we want to watch….and what do we get? The same old tv packages with all the crap we don’t want, and a law to allow American huskters to rape us…..gee thanks harper….you doaty clagtail. AND CANADIANS vote for these morons…..

  10. This will kill creativity. Now people can’t make the videos they wanted for work, school, etc.
    What they should do is promote the buying of legal stuffs instead, and give benefits for the buy of legal stuffs.
    Entertainment corporations are rich enough as it is and I doubt they can go bankrupt.

  11. Interesting Note: When those notices are forwarded by the ISP, if by email, your IP address, email address ;), and ,probably, your subcriber info are all forwarded in the clear. Interesting way to expose the subscriber associated with the ‘complaint’.

  12. Pingback: The Canadian Government Is Asking ISPs to Stop Sending Warning Letters for Illegal Downloading | Gadget News, Reviews and Guides

  13. Peter Traffic says:

    I remember dubbing cassette tapes back in the day…. many stereos had 2 cassette decks for dubbing purposes. Same with dual VHS recorders. This is bulllshit…. we all did it back in the day without reprocussions.

    • True. However, that was only because they could not find you. With the internet, they follow the traffic and now know what you are doing. Besides, past tape reproduction was always a thorn in their sides. There was little they could do about it but did you know you compensated them in some small way? There is a hidden tax on recordable media. In any case, though they would have loved to have nailed you for making a tape and giving it to your friend, that pales in comparison to people who make a copy and hand it out to many thousands on the internet.

    • THOSE WERE THE DAY!!..THINGS HAVE CHANGE NOW , I AM AFRAID TO DOWNLOAD ANYTHING NOW IN FEAR OF RECEIVING MORE NOTICES