The flood of copyright notices in Canada continues to attract attention and generate concern among many Canadians. I’ve posted several pieces on the issue, including a recent post on what recipients should consider if they receive a notice. I still receive daily emails from notice recipients, with some admitting that they quickly paid the settlement in a panic and now fear that they may have opened the door to even more settlement demands. In response to this copyright abuse, I was pleased to participate in an open letter signed by many groups calling on the government to fix the loopholes in the notice-and-notice system by prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the copyright notices.
A recent Metro article suggests that the government is well aware that the system is being misused. Industry Minister James Moore’s press secretary Jake Enwright emphasizes that “there is no obligation for Canadians to pay these settlements” and that the current system is “not a notice-and-settlement regime.” Those are encouraging words that come as close as the government can to tell consumers that it does not believe that settlements should be included in the notices and to hint that it does not expect Canadians to pay.
With CEG TEK, the primary notice sender, leaving little doubt that it intends to continue, it falls to the government to address the problem. Enwright says that the government is waiting for the industry to identify an appropriate solution, but the real problem lies with the absence of regulations that prohibit the inclusion of settlement demands within notices that were designed to educate, not bully Canadians into paying pricey settlements. The government often talks about a copyright balance, yet it has decided to move ahead with copyright term extension without any consultation following backroom lobbying from the recording industry and is somehow is content to leave thousands of Canadians without protection against misuse of the very system it created.