Archive for January, 2015

How Canadian Law Views Online Streaming Video

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 17, 2015 as How Canadian Law Views Online Streaming Video The misuse of Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system has attracted considerable media and political attention over the past week. With revelations that some rights holders are requiring Internet providers to send notifications that […]

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January 20, 2015 2 comments Columns Archive
IMG_2551 by Andy Nystrom (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Videotron’s Odd Copyright Notices: No User Rights and Inaccurate Privacy Information

As the misuse of the Canada’s copyright notice-and-notice system continues to attract attention, Industry Canada has taken the first step to try to alleviate public concern. The department has posted an advisory on the notice-and-notice system which seeks to assuage consumer concern, noting that U.S. copyright penalties do not apply in Canada and that the statutory damages cap for non-commercial infringement is C$5000. It also states:

  • Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean that you have in fact infringed copyright or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.
  • The Notice and Notice regime does not impose any obligations on a subscriber who receives a notice and it does not require the subscriber to contact the copyright owner or the intermediary.

This is important information that provides much needed context for the notices. As I noted last week, some Internet providers are forwarding similar information to their subscribers.

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January 14, 2015 6 comments News
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore by Heather (CC BY 2.0)

Canada’s Copyright Notice Fiasco: Why Industry Minister James Moore Bears Some Responsibility

Last week I posted on how Rightscorp, a U.S.-based anti-piracy company, was using Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system to require Internet providers to send threats and misstatements of Canadian law in an effort to extract payments based on unproven infringement allegations. Many Canadians may be frightened into a settlement payment since they will be unaware that some of the legal information in the notice is inaccurate and that Rightscorp and BMG do not know who they are.

The revelations attracted considerable attention (I covered the issue in my weekly technology law column – Toronto Star version, homepage version), with NDP Industry Critic Peggy Nash calling on the government to close the loophole that permits false threats. Nash noted that “Canadians are receiving notices threatening them with fines thirty times higher than the law allows for allegedly downloading copyrighted material. The Conservatives are letting these companies send false legal information to Canadians in order to scare them into paying settlements for movies or music no one has even proved they’ve actually downloaded.”

With the notices escalating as a political issue, Jake Enright, Industry Minister James Moore’s spokesman, said on Friday the government would take action.  Enright said that “these notices are misleading and companies cannot use them to demand money from Canadians”, adding that government officials would be contacting ISPs and rights holders to stop the practice.

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January 12, 2015 46 comments Columns

Canadians Facing Barrage of Misleading Copyright Demand Notices Due Loophole in New Law

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 10, 2015 as Canadians Face Barrage of Misleading Copyright Demands Canada’s new copyright notification system – dubbed the “notice-and-notice” approach since it allows rights holders to send notices alleging infringement to Internet providers who are required to forward those notices to subscribers – […]

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January 12, 2015 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive
warning by m.p.3. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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:

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January 9, 2015 39 comments News