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Why Copyright Trolling in Canada Doesn't Pay: Assessing the Fallout From the Voltage - TekSavvy Case

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Monday February 24, 2014
The Canadian media featured extensive coverage over the weekend of the federal court decision that opens the door to TekSavvy disclosing the names and addresses of thousands of subscribers and establishes new safeguards against copyright trolling in Canada. While some focused on the copyright trolling issues, others emphasized the disclosure of the names and the possibility of lawsuits.

What comes next is anyone's guess - Voltage indicates that it plans to pursue the case - but the economics of suing thousands of Canadians for downloading a movie for personal purposes may not make sense given current Canadian law. This post examines the law and estimated costs of pursuing file sharing litigation against individuals, concluding that the combination of copyright reform, the Voltage decision, likely damage awards, and litigation costs will force would-be plaintiffs to reconsider their strategies.

Start with the likely damage award if a case went to court. The maximum liability for an individual for non-commercial infringement in Canada is $5,000 for all infringements. With nothing more than IP addresses, there is unlikely to be any evidence of commercial intent or benefits (going for a commercial claim would require far more evidence and expensive litigation). While $5,000 is the cap, the actual number is likely to be far lower as the law sets a minimum award of $100. The law provides some additional guidance for judges:

in the case of infringements for noncommercial purposes, the need for an award to be proportionate to the infringements, in consideration of the hardship the award may cause to the defendant, whether the infringement was for private purposes or not, and the impact of the infringements on the plaintiff.

I would argue that the actual number is likely to be at the low-end of the scale for a first-time case. These are non-commercial cases involving movies with a market value for consumers of around $15 to $25 with some selling for under $10. Moreover, the impact of the infringements on the plaintiff are also low since Voltage chose relatively low-profile movies (see page 9), some of which had minimal earnings (for example, Puncture earned $68,945 worldwide). Contrary to some reports, the Hurt Locker is not one of the films in this case.

Perhaps the best comparable is the New Zealand copyright tribunal three strikes cases which have awarded actual market value for the copyright work (eg. $2.39 for a song) and added tribunal and application fees, a deterrence fee, and a portion of the cost of obtaining the user's information. Tribunal and application fees would not apply to a demand letter in Canada. The deterrent fee has been as low as zero with others around $100 per infringement. There is often also a fee for obtaining the name and address, typically at about $50 for three notices. 

Since Canadian demand letters would not involve tribunal or application fees, a reasonable number is going to be very close to the $100 minimum for a first-time, non-commercial infringement with no other warnings or notices. The federal court hinted at this last week, noting that "damages against individual subscribers even on a generous consideration of the Copyright Act damage provisions may be miniscule compared to the cost, time and effort in pursuing a claim against the subscriber."

As discussed in my post on the case, the decision establishes a system of court oversight for the demand letters as the contents will be approved by the parties (including CIPPIC) and the case management judge. The letter must also "clearly state in bold type that no court has yet made a determination that such subscriber has infringed or is liable in any way for payment of damages." With a full review of the letter, a court is unlikely to grant its approval if the demands are viewed as excessive. Indeed, it seems likely that the court will require settlement demands that are consistent with likely damage awards.

Even if Voltage were successful in convincing a court to award ten times the marketplace value of a $15 movie - $150 - the economics do not make sense. Assuming Voltage manages to convince 75% of recipients to settle for the $150 demand, the campaign would generate $225,000 in revenue. Yet that must be offset by paying the TekSavvy costs before any names are released (which alone were estimated at $200,000 at the federal court hearing), covering their own costs (assume a matching $200,000 to collect the IP addresses, retain experts, and fund the litigation), and dealing with thousands of demand letter recipients (if each letter costs $30 in time and money that adds another $45,000).

Under this scenario, Voltage will have settled three quarters of its cases for ten times the market value of a $15 movie and will have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. In fact, even if the demands were doubled to $300 per subscriber, the case will still just break even. Moreover, there are still the remaining 25% of recipients who have not responded, many of whom may believe they have (in the words of the federal court) "perfectly good defences to the alleged infringement." If Voltage pursues them in court, the costs of the litigation (the federal court ruled all follow-on cases will be subject to case management) will far outstrip any likely award as every court case is a money loser. If Voltage does not fight in court, the decision to only send demand letters will be used as evidence of copyright trolling in any future case and the federal court ruled that "improper motive" (ie. demand letters without intent to litigate) could be enough to deny future motions for subscriber information.

In sum, file sharing lawsuits against individuals in Canada do not make economic sense if the goal is to profit from the litigation (the Voltage case is different from earlier industry-backed lawsuits that were geared toward deterring file sharing). First, since Canadian law points to very low damage awards and court oversight will make it difficult to demand anything beyond the likely damage awards, settlements may not even cover costs. Second, some cases will require litigation and every case that goes to court will result in losses for the rights holder. Third, failure to litigate those cases will make it difficult to obtain future court orders for subscriber information since those litigants will be suspected of copyright trolling.
Comments (100)add comment

David Collier-Brown said:

What about deterrance?
In the (unlikely!) case of an non-troll plaintiff, would un-joining a single case and proceeding with it be likely to raise the expected recoveries enough to make it break even? While I don't believe it is the case here, it does raise the question of whether an honest plaintiff can use the courts to discourage widespread downloading.
February 24, 2014

Someguy said:

Deezer.com
I have essentially stopped downloading music from file sharing services since discovering Deezer.com. Why? Deezer provides a better service at a reasonable cost. If there were a comparable service for TV shows and movies, I would certainly consider it.
February 24, 2014

Laroquod said:

I'll believe it when I see it
Mr. Geist, while I appreciate your work, in my opinion, your predictions over the years as to how far the govt and judiciary will go toward the copyright maximalist position have been frequently off the mark, and usually in the direction of unwarranted optimism. Maybe the legal system will turn out the minimum ($100) damages for these kinds of cases, it's far more likely based on past evidence and simple inductive reasoning, that a judge who rules against a filesharing defendant is far more likely to exact the maximum damages - especially in a climate where even the maximum is perceived as on the low end of the scale. And I don't see anything in this article that even attempts to challenge that simple logic. In filesharing cases in a system of legally sanctioned vast copyright overreach, judges tend to award the maximum legal damages possible. I don't see why that should be less likely if the legal range is unprecedently low - quite the opposite, in fact.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Laroquod
I agree with you Laroquod, I think deterrence is going to play a role in the judges decision(s).

Time will tell.
February 24, 2014

@mgeist said:

why trolls
im still not able to understand how the plaintiff in the voltage case is a troll? are they not taking the appropriate steps to litigate this correctly? Even if they don't break even, wouldn't it still be a wise investment for their future? Its really unfortunate that these folks really have no other option, and have to endure being called trolls, its very unprofessional (and childish). They obviously know exactly what they are doing and have learned from their own and others past mistakes. Id take a stab in the dark and say they are likely moving forward more on principal and not as a cash grab. I do hope they succeed. It shouldn't matter if its a popular movie or not, it shouldn't matter if people try to play bitorrent semantics either. I have a hard time believing that someone who chose teksavvy as an isp, (to avoid throughput limits) and who was technically inclined enough to setup their bittorent client, didn't know EXACTLY what they were doing and what the possible repercussions could be.
February 24, 2014

anon said:

@why trolls
Voltage isn't attempting to litigate this correctly as they were only trying to get names and addresses to send intimidating letters demanding settlement. Their past failed attempts in the US show that they have no intent to pursue litigation. Whether they follow through with lawsuits in Canada is yet to be seen but the fact that they protested the Canadian court's decision to set up safeguards hints at their true intentions.

Both the Canadian and US courts referenced "copyright trolls" several times in their decisions so no it is not unprofessional or childish.

Being suspicious of anybody who chooses to use an independent ISP, especially TekSavvy shows that you're incapable of critical thinking.
February 24, 2014

trolls up yours said:

Up yours greedy holywood trolls
Awesome business scheme - turn loosing BS "movies" into some profit by seeding them via undisclosed bittorrent seeders. If these f..ers were for truth (for real) they would go after original uploader of their precious BS. I am laughing my pants off looking at this extortion attempt by talentless bullsh.ters LOL. Up yours greedy holywood trolls. Sane people do ot watch "works" with titles like "balls to the wall". Go back to your hole.
February 24, 2014

Adam said:

@David Collier-Brown
There's tons of evidence that mass infringement lawsuits do little to reduce piracy rates, but there's lots of evidence that providing easy and affordable alternatives (like Netflix or iTunes) does make a big impact. So I think you're looking in the wrong direction there.
February 24, 2014

Read the law said:

Deterrence not a factor
For those arguing that judges will jack up the damage awards, read the post. The law contains guidelines for non-commercial infringement awards and deterrence is not one of the factors to consider. You might also think about this judge. No reason to think he isn't typical. Far from wanting to max out damage awards, he seemed much more concerned with trolls.
February 24, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

Deterrence is for Trolls
Voltage is a pack of trolls.

You only have to look to what they've done in the States to see that.

The court certainly saw that and while they conceded they don't have any compelling evidence that Voltage is trollage they nonetheless felt safeguards again trolling were warranted.

I think that says it all.

As for Voltage going ahead, they might because they and their legal team thought they had themselves the ultimate get rich quick scheme and those dreams are hard to let go of.

Even when they're crumbling.

They might even cry they're doing it to deter downloading!

But will it?

Maybe a few people will stop but the MILLIONS of Canadians who do won't because a) they're not the ones being sued b) they have a VPN or other form of protection c) they just don't care.

The reality is that every single piece of media that has ever been or ever will be is right now on the Internet for people to download for fees or free.

And people will be downloading them until there is no Internet.

Voltage knows this, their experts know this but they don't care, they want to make free money from it.

And our courts said no, you can't, if you have a legitimate claim by all means but if all you're doing is trying to monetize copyright laws, go home Yankee.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Laroquod
Our legal system in Canada work different from others around the globe. Judges in Canada very rarely in civil cases offer excessive punitive damage awards, and often award damages that are closer to the actual damages lost. MG is assuming they will award based on a "lost sale", which I do agree with him on for a number of reasons.

All of this above is also dependent on the evidence as well. Canipre's systems used to capture IP addresses in BT swarms is fatally flawed. Any evidence brought forth to the court would not stand even the basic amount of court scrutiny, which is one of the reasons why I've always questioned the approach taken by TSI.

All of this MG is saying won't even be able to be tested in the first place due to the evidence that has been presented in this case. That is sure to get much more attention now with the issues surrounding the NSA/CSEC. Voltage knew their evidence wouldn't stand up, tried to get around it, and should have been shut down immediately by Teksavvy and CIPPIC in my opinion.

Watching these "trolls" wine on the comments here I must say is far more entertaining than a Voltage movie could ever be, however the rights of Canadian Internet users should never be put before a movie script of this nature. Considering the evidence presented in this case, Canadians got the short end of the stick here by both Voltage and Teksavvy. The courts should have never allowed it to go this far based on the evidence (that largely remain untouched through cross-examination), in my opinion.
February 24, 2014

ReGenesis said:

Max Damage Awards
There are several laws in Canada that have a min and max penalties from sentences for crimes to a monitory amounts.

Even without the law containing the guidelines, Canadian judges rarely give the max penalty.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@David Collier-Brown
"it does raise the question of whether an honest plaintiff can use the courts to discourage widespread downloading."

There is no "honest" plaintiff senior when you are dealing with copyright.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZadCj8O1-0
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

...
*scenario*
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@ReGenesis
"Canadian judges rarely give the max penalty"
Really? Google this case:
Judge awards Max statutory damages for copyright infringement
Trout Point Lodge Ltd. v. Handshoe

It's impossible to predict how the judge will rule, that will depend on the evidence.
February 24, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Dan J
Uh Dan? That was a defamation case, so different, it was record breaking, so hardly typical and most importantly the motion was unopposed by the defendant, so yeah, they lost big time as a result.

And in this case the judgment of letting Voltage have the names but with safeguards was predicted by many observers literally minutes after the gavel was brought down.

So, no, not impossible.

You and others seem very keen to make it out like Voltage won, I wonder why that is.
February 24, 2014

Rob D'Blind said:

a gamble on TPP ratification?
Won't the TPP allow trolls with pocket tribunals to later win bigger jackpots?

If so, capped settlements might become lotto tickets for big payoffs from Canada, since individual pockets are not as deep as government coffers.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
"There is no "honest" plaintiff senior when you are dealing with copyright." What a horribly unfair thing to say. I know many copyright holders who are hard working honest people.
February 24, 2014

anti_troll said:

...
I sense Voltage trolls here :), dreaming about forcing as many people into settelment as possible, otherwise, they feel f..ed and laughed upon.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@bullettruthtony
"That was a defamation case" in part, it was also a case for copyright infringement.

Trout Point Lodge Ltd. v. Handshoe, 2014 NSSC 62 (CanLII)

By the Court:
[1] This is an application for an assessment of damages pursuant to Civil Procedure Rule 70.04. The applicants requested damages are rooted in defamation, copyright infringement and misappropriation of personality.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
Ah yes, my poor heat sobs for these people as well, which is why I've been helping many understand how they can more then make up the measly 6% of losses by innovating:

http://jkoblovsky.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/possible-value-chain-for-video-content-downloaded-from-p2p/

If they were such "hard working people" we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. The market has a funny way of dealing with "lazy copyright holders", unfortunately that's blamed on society rather then where that blame should lie.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
You are entitled to your opinion Jason.
I am curious what you mean by this however: "rather then where that blame should lie." ? and who do you consider to be at fault Jason? The Rights holders for protecting their property?
February 24, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Dan J
You're leaving details out and are tying to compare a bowling ball to a sperm whale while insisting that because both are heavy they are the same thing.

Copyright infringement was not the whole issue, the defamation was far more pertinent and what's even more pertinent was the defendant didn't show up.

So yes, if Voltage plows ahead out of spite and the person they try to take to court doesn't show up then yes they could get a huge settlement.

But in the real world what would happen is either a) the person would say "yes, I did it" and the judge would say "Don't do it again, give Voltage $150." or b) the person would say "I didn't do it, here's my hard drive, see? Nothing there." and the judge would then turn to Voltage and ask if they have anything else for evidence and Voltage would say no, just the IP address, then that would be The. End.

See that's why Voltage doesn't want to go to court, the case they have is weak and the technology they use to track IPs imprecise at best. They know innocent people have been scooped up but because they're trolls they don't care. What they would tell them is "Hey, give us $2k and we'll go away, cheaper than going to court!"

They really are the scummiest of bags.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
Fault doesn't lie with the creators who create works to be listened to and viewed. Fault lies on the "rights holders" who would rather not develop viable business models around "shared" content and opt to restrict that content from being viewed and listened too, thus "devaluing" the content created (which is unfairly blamed on the viewer/listener)
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
"not develop viable business models around "shared" content"
does "shared" mean free to Use and disseminate in your idea of a viable business model?
I'm simply trying to understand your perspective here Jason.
February 24, 2014

Account Holder said:

Internet is a utility
The names and addresses delivered to Voltage will be the account holder, not necessarily the infringer. Either the court will have to accept that the account holder is responsible for all traffic, or Voltage will have to convince the judge that the account holder is also the infringer.

I open my wifi to every person who comes into my home no different than allowing them to turn on a light, or have a drink from the tap. Internet access is a utility in my view. I don't check what guests do with the water and I don't watch over their shoulder while they use their laptop.

In addition, I operate an open wifi on my guest zone for emergency wifi access by anyone driving by. I have benefitted from this in the past by other generous neighbours so I am reciprocating. When Rogers deliberately took down TekSavvy in my neighbourhood for three days last October, I benefitted (with my neighbour's permission). In my view this means I am no different than the McDonald's, Tim Hortons, or neighbourhood pub that offers free wifi to their customers or anyone in the parking lot. Some have Terms of Service splash screens, some do not (East Side Mario's). Currently I do not but I am investigating hotspot services to provide this and to limit bandwidth usage to cover my ass thanks to Voltage trolling for settlements that would exceed the theatre revenue.

Should I ever get hauled into court, will the judge treat me the same as a restaurant, or as a good samaritan? I don't know. But dammit, Internet access is an essential service and we need redundancy. I'm happy to do my part and I don't want trolls spoiling it for everyone.

Voltage needs to identify the actual infringer and go after them. How many non-technical homeowners will be on the hook because a guest misbehaved or they misconfigured their router leaving it open without understanding the consequences?

Mr. Geist says the market value for a Voltage movie is $10-$25. I disagree. I find it hard to believe anyone would watch most Voltage movies more than once (and they'd probably regret the one time they did). Thus this is more like a rental. Assuming you could even access the awful Voltage movies on CinemaNow, iTunes, or Zip kiosks, the price would be $6 for streaming down to $1 for Zip. Of that, Voltage would see only a fraction. So I place the maximum value of a Voltage movie at a few dollars at best. OK, so make it 10 times damages to discourage it. That's $30. I'm being generous.

Personally, I've made it a policy not to watch any Voltage movie, regardless of how highly others rate it simply as a matter of principle. Thus they've lost a few dollars in revenue from me every year because that's roughly how often Voltage comes out with a movie worth watching.

The vast majority of the "losses" any movie studio faces is due to organized crime selling DVDs while the movie is still in the theatre. But does Voltage go after crime bosses? Hell no! Those guys will visit the houses of the Voltage execs and lawyers and slaughter every living thing they find. So Voltage goes after the people least able to defend themselves. If Voltage was serious about deterring copyright violations they'd go after the major infringers first. They don't. They're cowards.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
View the above link (and videos embedded) I posted, maybe that will give you some "insight" into my perspective.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@bullettruthtony
"See that's why Voltage doesn't want to go to court" it's odd you would write that considering that the case is in the hands of the court as we discuss this.
Further to this Voltage made it clear to the courts they have every intention to move forward. If Voltage turns out to be what many are claiming, nothing but "trolls" time will tell.

"You and others seem very keen to make it out like Voltage won, I wonder why that is." I can not speak for the others you're referring to, but for myself I don't think anyone won

February 24, 2014

Tom said:

Court Costs
Are the defendants liable for court costs if they loose? Does that change the damage calculations?
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

Jason K
The "piracy is good" videos from 2005, I've watched them long ago.
Interesting perspective. Not one I agree with however.
February 24, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Dan J
> it's odd you would write that considering that the case is in the hands of the court as we discuss this.

The case was about Voltage getting names and they've made their decision, one that is clearly not encouraging for Voltage.

> Further to this Voltage made it clear to the courts they have every intention to move forward.

Have they? When did they do that? I know that one of their local lawyers made some noise to the press the other day about "not going after first borne" but I get the vibe he's not much of a shot-caller.

> If Voltage turns out to be what many are claiming, nothing but "trolls" time will tell.

Time has told, are you really this unaware of Voltage's history? You do know they've trolled in the States right? Why do you think the court talked about trolling right off the bat? Why do you think the safeguards have been put in place?

They are trolls, they are painfully, obviously, completely, shamelessly trolls. They use troll language, they use troll tactics, to be any more trolling they would have to show up in court in a troll costume in a trolling boat with a giant neon sign above their head that read "TROLL: Give us money or we'll eat your goat" with an arrow pointing down.

> but for myself I don't think anyone won

No, plenty of winners, the judge crafted a decision that allows for legitimate copyright claims to have their own specialized court and for trolls, like Voltage, to have enough rope to hang themselves. So the nation won.

People that Voltage were rampaging after who didn't download anything now won't have to deal with this b.s. so they won.

And people who did do what Voltage said they did also won but hopefully they'll take this as notice that it's time to get a Netflix account because really for $7 a month you get more than enough movies.

But be sure to give any Voltage films negative reviews.

And that's the real losers, they spent how much to get here? The owe TSI how much? They can pay and get the names and numbers but what then? Spend more only to have a judge give them a couple of hundred dollars because that's more than a generous amount?

There isn't a clap sarcastic enough to express that victory, as hollow as a Chinese Easter bunny.
February 24, 2014

IMDb rating said:

@bullettruthtony
> But be sure to give any Voltage films negative reviews.

When rating a Voltage movie at IMDb.com be sure not to give them a 1. IMDb uses an algorithm to devalue the 10's and 1's because people often just chose them for convenience, and then there's the love it or hate it factor. According to the IMDb, it's much more complicated than that but you get the idea.

I recommend giving the movies a 2 even though it may hurt to give them a value 10 times what they're worth.
February 24, 2014

IMDb rating said:

Follow up
Shortcut to rate movies at IMDb:

1) Log in or obtain an account.
2) Use this link to get a list of all Voltage movies: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0179337/
3) Click on each movie and give them the rating they deserve.

Enjoy.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@bullettruthtony
I said: Further to this Voltage made it clear to the courts they have every intention to move forward.

"Have they? When did they do that?"

Page 7 of the decision:
[19] Relying primarily upon BMG Canada Inc. v Doe, 2005 FCA 193(BMG) (discussed in greater detail below) Voltage argues that it has met all of the principles enunciated in BMG and TekSawy should be ordered to release the information on the Subscribers, *It is, to be noted as well that the position of Voltage was that it fully intends to pursue claims against the Subscribers.*

"Time has told, are you really this unaware of Voltage's history?"
No I am not.

"You do know they've trolled in the States right?"
I know that in one instance the judge could grant another extension due to the fact the ISP's refused to supply the necessary documents. Yes I'm aware of that.

"Why do you think the safeguards have been put in place?"
Are you familiar with a Norwich Order?

"it's time to get a Netflix account because really for $7 a month you get more than enough movies."

I could not agree more!
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
"The "piracy is good" videos from 2005, I've watched them long ago.
Interesting perspective. Not one I agree with however."

I'd be interested to here why, and what your perspectives are.


February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Tom
"Are the defendants liable for court costs if they loose? Does that change the damage calculations?"

Sort answer is yes, however the court has the discretion based on the defendants financial position to reduce those costs or scrap them entirely.
February 24, 2014

Netflix Question said:

Voltage on Netflix?
Has anybody checked how many of the movies listed in the complaint are available on Netflix? Netflix has no shortage of terrible movies but I wonder if they've sunk this low.
February 24, 2014

Devil's Advocate said:

@Laroquod:
1) Since Canada has not been host to an onslaught of filesharing-related lawsuits (yet), and the guidelines that are currently in place haven't really been tested, don't you think it's just a little inappropriate to say ANYONE's been "frequently off the mark".

2) I think Dr. Geist did a pretty good job of outlining why the "climate" being set by Canadian judges seems to already differ greatly from that which we are used to seeing in the U.S. There's every reason to hope that at least some sanity will prevail.
February 24, 2014

Laroquod said:

@Devil's Advocate
You are not a great Devil's Advocate, since you ignore that I said Geist's predictions regarding the behaviour of govts and judges are frequently off the mark, which includes the Conservative Party's public 'copyright consultations', about which the author of this blog was very optimistic, despite many of his more pragmatic commenters thinking otherwise. The 'consultations' turned out to be a total farce.

And that's not the end of it. Everytime some government stooge makes a big promise, Geist ignores their record and takes them at their word, and writes an article about how it could be true.

I don't think he's a plant or anything. I think Geist is sincere; I just think he is easily taken in by official types and puts too much faith in a putatively 'democratic' process that has not worked in a recognisably democratic way for many years, maybe decades...

As for those who say judges don't apply maximum damages all the time: you're talking about other cases. The numbers are very, very different anytime you look at copyright cases and IP cases, specifically. In those cases, typically either the defendants are acquitted, or else near-maximum damages are levied. Why? Because there is a moral panic in the land right now about copyright. You can tell it's a panic because it has no actual connection to any evidence of harm.

When the only logical reason to censure someone in a trial is that 'they're a witch', and when people ask, 'how does being a witch hurt people' and the establishment just says, 'well it's obvious we don't need evidence of harm', then they are probably going to get the maximum censure, and the maximum damages. Because there is no logic to the accusations, the award obviously has to be the maximum, because there is no way to justify anything less.

And I don't believe that Canada is going to be any different. We aren't special. We're just late.
February 24, 2014

see the bullshit through said:

trolls + logan = multiple personality disorder
I can see, I can see trolls.
February 24, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Dan J
> *It is, to be noted as well that the position of Voltage was that it fully intends to pursue claims against the Subscribers.*

I guess you don't know this but sometimes in court? Lawyers won't be completely honest in what they actually mean with what they say. Let me show you how great a phrase "fully intends" is.

I fully intend to marry and impregnate Mila Kunis.

I fully intend to make a million dollars selling my nose hairs.

I fully intend to be the first man on Mars.

Doesn't mean I'm actually going to do those things does it?

> No I am not.

Are you sure? You seem pretty confused as to what Voltage is all about.

> "Why do you think the safeguards have been put in place?"
> Are you familiar with a Norwich Order?

I am, so much so that it's not an actual answer to my question.




February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Laroquod
Here's what I think from following the consultations and contributing to them myself. What came out of the consultations was policy meant to deter punishing users, after heavy division within the artistic community here in Canada regarding lawsuits. All Canadians spoke out very strongly against lawsuits.

So what the government did, is essentially deter these lawsuits from coming forward. They knew that industry would eventually put these new laws to the test. During the release of this new legislation the government expected Canadians would "follow the law". As a result the new legislation has created this, and only this opportunity to allow industry to create panic and get it's message out that downloading is wrong, so yes I think others should expect these "trolls" to take the most of this situation because it's the only one they will get.

If I was the CEO of any ISP, I would have never allowed my company or my customers to be used in this way, but that's just me.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
House of Commons - Minister Moore said:
“we introduced a bill that is fair to everyone, both creators and consumers. What artists across the country need right now is copyright legislation that will make piracy illegal in Canada.
That is what Bill C-11 will do.”

The Bill ensures that Canadians are not subject to unreasonable penalties by significantly reducing statutory damages for infringement for non-commercial purposes by individuals, providing the courts with the flexibility to award between $100 and $5,000 in total damages.
The Bill will ensure that courts take proportionality into account in awarding damages.

I fail to see how you concluded the Government's policy was/is meant to deter punishing users. One breaks the law (even if they disagree with it) should that person not be held accountable?
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
You still haven't responded to my previous question, once you do, I'll do a song and dance and entertain you with the newest one.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
"I'd be interested to here why, and what your perspectives are."
That question? Jason that's hardly a question!, and impossibly to fully answer on a blog; that's a conversation.

"I'll do a song and dance and entertain you with the newest one."

Thanks ok, civility and good debate would have been just fine.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
"That question? Jason that's hardly a question!, and impossibly to fully answer on a blog; that's a conversation"

lmao,really? Seriously? Isn't a conversation around copyright what we are having here? Enlighten me please. What exactly do you disagree with regarding my perspectives in bringing in more advertising revenue for video producers such as voltage. You disagree with my perspectives, and you're not going to tell me why? You're the one that engaged me in the "conversation", so finish it.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
Awww what is it? Those little troll balls still need some miracle grow? Silence is dealing here. Still waiting.
February 24, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
"Awww what is it? Those little troll balls still need some miracle grow? Silence is dealing here. Still waiting."

Ummm actually no, I was eating dinner with my family.
And after reading your last post directed at me, I would strongly suggest you stop waiting.
February 24, 2014

haha said:

...
He can call himself Dan or curious . Still the same troll and corporate baglicker
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@Dan J
"And after reading your last post directed at me, I would strongly suggest you stop waiting."

You're welcome for the intentional opportunity to retreat I've provided you. You're lucky I'm being respectful and nice.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@haha
I wouldn't even graduate him to that level, that's more of a compliment to him. Not even remotely classified as an industry corporate troll. He's probably some dead beat creator who can't sell his crappy works, blames lack of copyright as a result. Representative of an informed artistic base. Too easy to manipulate. Not even a challenge.

An industry troll would have been fully prepared for a debate on value chains. A debate that's only likely to widen within the general public as a result of Voltage. These guys were very lucky to get ANY statutory damages the last time around. They should be very careful what they wish for here. In my opinion anyway.
February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@haha
"Representative of an informed artistic base"

Should be "Representative of an uninformed artistic base"
February 24, 2014

davegravy said:

...
I definitely have copy-left views but share the same skepticism as Laroquod.

The troll roadblocks (case management requirements, costs) the judge in this instance is imposing are completely at his discretion. The fines ($100 - $5000) and costs that he awards to the plaintiff are at his discretion. There's lots of leeway for the judge.

Who's to say the next case won't be very different in this regard? I wouldn't put it past the movie industry to find some back channel way to get a very favorable interpretation of the legislation and much more friendly treatment in the courtroom (e.g. max penalties for all).

February 24, 2014

Jason K said:

@davegravy
Who knows how this will end up. My bet is they will do whatever they can with this opportunity. They already are. From the looks of things artists may have been given "talking points" by their unions to use on blogs, forums etc to maximize their PR and the scare here. Wouldn't put it past them. Take everything as a grain of salt. I'm with MG on this one regarding damages. A lot of that is due to a family mber who litigates on civil rights issues. Unlikely court will offer put excessive penalties. That's typically not what happens.

But I would suspect they will move forward (or try too) on a few cases. That's almost a certainty from my point of view.
February 24, 2014

Ole Juul said:

Bigger issues
We don't know if the people who are being sued are Voltage fans or not. It is quite possible that many of them are also sources of revenue for the company. People download movies for different reasons. But I think there are some much bigger issues being missed here.

The harm done to the functionality of the internet, personal freedoms, and privacy, are a big issue. We cannot ignore the general trend toward things like military involvement and FBI raids such as we have seen in NewZealand and USA. Copyright fights tend to end up on the streets. One could argue that it is not their fault that our governments are willing to help them destroy our internet freedoms, but I personally think that what Voltage is doing is bad for us all. Yes, Nicolas Chartier would therefore call me "a moron and a thief", but the fact is that I'm neither. I don't download movies. (I don't even watch more than one or two in a year.) And I'm not stupid. Being called so by Voltage only makes me not take their protestations seriously - and I'm probably not the only one.

In a sense, these lawsuits (not just Voltage) are like shooting into the crowd. There are lots of innocent casualties. Like me - and I hate movies.


February 25, 2014

mr shmo said:

Sue the parents?
If indeed the infringement is legit, In many households it is the kids that do the downloading, and the parents pay the internet bill. So we are going to drag the parents to court over what the kids do behind their parents back. Good one, why don't we just throw the kids in jail too, if they admit infringement. So buy condoms, and make sure you have no kids, and give away the ones you have now, Voltage might sue you. Up yours Voltage go back to your crumbling country and train your hockey team to get a medal next olympics.
February 25, 2014

Bill said:

...
A few things still concern me with any case like this:
1. What opportunity is there for an 'average citizen' to simply argue that because the tools are available to ensure legal acquisition of content but they haven't been implemented, largely because of antiquated rules and regulations imposed by the CRTC, they should be allowed to go through different channels? In fact, why aren't 'average citizens' suing the CRTC for blocking them from legitimate content opportunities?
2. What happens to those honest citizens who sold their VHS cassettes and 8 tracks in favour for media that can be played on hardware that is 'up to date'? In other words, to what extent could I argue that planned obsolescence is an intentional strategy of media companies to get me to buy the same product over and over again in different formats? I'm tired of wasting my money on the same song in 8 different formats and, quite frankly, I want my money back. Enabling bad economic choices of media companies isn't good policy and we shouldn't tolerate it.
3. What about the situation where people simply got sick of thousands of CDs and DVDs taking up valuable shelf space in their homes? I recently gave away 100s of movies and CDs to Goodwill. I didn't ask for a tax receipt, nor do I have the original receipts to prove that I owned this content. However, if I try to replace that content in a 'modern' format, I get sued? No thanks. Netflix or other online services don't offer them for public consumption, so how do I make up the gap?
4. Why aren't these companies being proactive with their content instead of putting it under lock and key? If I could pay $0.50 or $1.00 (ie. a reasonable amount) to Voltage or others, we could all avoid this enormous waste of resources and effort. It's corporate welfare at its best when companies rely on regulation to protect them from the realities of the market. Go out there and do something innovative for a change and inspire people to pay for your product. Apple did this, why can't other companies who are pursuing lockdown?

The summary is this: failure to respond to the market should result in failure of the company, not punishment of the people.
February 25, 2014

Dan J said:

@Jason K
"You're welcome for the intentional opportunity to retreat I've provided you. You're lucky I'm being respectful and nice."

Jason you're delusions of grandeur rampant throughout your posts; I'm relieved that someone like you disagrees with me. Have something intelligent to say I'll answer, until then circle jerk with haha and poor davegravy. Those two really need some serious stroking.
February 25, 2014

honestly curious (but not the other curious) said:

show of hands please
how many people reading/posting here actually do write and distribute their own music/art/books or whatever expression you hold dear to your heart?

(my hand is up)

industry shills, and whatever other nasty names aside, does anyone have a better solution on how to tackle this? Canadian judges seem to be pretty fair and extremely cautious when looking at things like this and if you read what the judge wrote he made it pretty clear that everything so far is on the up and up in terms of the law...cases like this are unfortunately inevitable and long overdue. I know tons, not just a few but TONS of people who setup sickbeard to scrape it all for them, thats the fist place they go to. Someone the other day even told me that they have some crazy amount like 10tb of movies and music that theyve downloaded from it. When i asked them if they would ever even actually watch all of those shows, they replied "no, but if i ever feel like watching seinfeld, i have the entire collection just waiting for me" i was dumbfounded. I could understand not being able to afford cable or to buy new music (not that thats a reason to steal it really, but it at least would make sense) but this isnt the first individual ive come across who was so proud of their massive collection of stuff they will probably never watch..just to have it. Seriously? we are fighting for this priviledge? if it was for access to some sort of valuable knowledge then maybe i would have a different opinion, but even then you can freely audit any university course in most cases if thats what youre after...

..but anyways, how many creators in the room? how have you dealt with this kind of stuff?
February 25, 2014

honestly curious (but not the other curious) said:

@bill
"3. What about the situation where people simply got sick of thousands of CDs and DVDs taking up valuable shelf space in their homes? I recently gave away 100s of movies and CDs to Goodwill. I didn't ask for a tax receipt, nor do I have the original receipts to prove that I owned this content. However, if I try to replace that content in a 'modern' format, I get sued? No thanks. Netflix or other online services don't offer them for public consumption, so how do I make up the gap?"

maybe you should have format shifted the content you previously bought, im pretty sure our laws allow for you to digitize your entire collection if you choose. CDs and DVDs have proved in my experience to be a more trustworthy backup format, so it may have been foolish to get rid of those in case your HD goes belly up, but i guess thats the chance you take. I wouldnt trust a hard drive these days for long term storage, ive had too many fail
February 25, 2014

Dan J said:

@honestly curious
The judge in the Voltage case saw the evidence and was obviously convinced there has been wrong doing otherwise it would have been a repeat of 2006; no order granted. Thankfully we live in Canada and her copyright act reflects true Canadian values. The idea of a max award of $150.000 per infringement is just insane.
February 25, 2014

honestly curious (but not the other curious) said:

@bill (im not picking on you)
"The summary is this: failure to respond to the market should result in failure of the company, not punishment of the people. "

so when ubisoft said we are sticking with drm and you dont like it, then don't buy it, according to your theory they should have disappeared or gone bankrupt. Im still playing their games, lots of other people are too. I cant see how either the people were punished or the company suffered as a result of taking a stance on content protection, in their own words during the copyright hearings, they admitted that after the first 90 days of releasing a game their sales just mysteriously stopped although they knew how many people were on their servers playing the games...it doesnt take a genius
February 25, 2014

An Author said:

@Honestly
I have published a technical ebook and I do not support Voltage's lawsuit. Here's my thoughts on copyright.

The book is for sale on Amazon without copying or text-to-speech restrictions. First, I need to price it to what the market values similar content. Second, there is no DRM that is foolproof. If someone wants to read my book they will find a way. I can make it convenient for them and let them read it on their platform(s) of choice and make them a happy customer, or I can be an S.O.B. and lock it up and force them to break the DRM. Those without the skills to crack will simply not read the book and it's a lose-lose.

Amazon allows buyers to return the book, no questions asked. People can buy the book and return it, but since it's freely copyable, they can keep a copy first. They can cheat me. My return rate has been less than 10%. How many of those are people who found the book too technical or not technical enough versus those who want to steal? I don't know, pick a number, lets say half. So a few percent of people are stealing my content. That's not enough for me to worry about let alone take them to court. And here's a key point — the people who steal content are probably not a lost sale because they would never have purchased it no matter what I priced it at. So my "damages" are a lot less than even a few percent.

As @Account Holder stated, "If Voltage was serious about deterring copyright violations they'd go after the major infringers first."

In my mind, the biggest thief in the publishing industry is Amazon themselves with their egregious terms.

The biggest thief in the movie business are the studios asking $11 for junk while we lose 90 minutes of our life watching said junk plus the 15-20 minutes of commercials before the movie starts. Rental prices at half the price of a theatre ticket is ridiculous.

As others have said, studios need to adapt to the realities of the Internet age and make their content compelling enough to be worth the price they're asking and make it easy to obtain without restrictions. If it's not on CinemaNow, or iTunes, or Netflix then offer it on their own site. They'll find out quickly what value people put on their movies.
February 25, 2014

Julia van Blokland said:

@An Author
I'm a published author, I don't use Amazon for many reasons including their egregious terms, so I'm with you on that one.
I don't know the actual specifics surrounding Voltage, only what's been posted on random sites and that certainly doesn't make it fact.
I am curious though, if it wasn't a production company that's been deemed "troll" would you support the lawsuit then? Or is it any lawsuit that attempts to prevent further unauthorized uses of people's IP?
February 25, 2014

golfasaurus said:

So what happens next
If I understand correctly the next step is for Voltage to go, chequebook in hand, to Teksavvy, so it's time for round 2 of
"Slag the ISP". Will Marc G. of Teksavvy roll over and give the information to Voltage for cheap? Will he fight a determined battle to beat as much money out of Voltage as he can? How long could this stage in the procss drag out if both ISP and Troll dig in their heels? Is there any downside to Teksavvy if they play hardball?
Could this stage in the process lead to another court action?
February 25, 2014

golfasaurus said:

Can Teksavvy bill Voltage for lost customers?
TSI might lose a significant percentage of the customers whose names they are about to hand over. For all I know they may have already lost a signifcant percentage of those folks. Can they charge Voltage for that lost income? If Voltage figures they can demand thousands of dollars from TSI subscribers for a ten dollar movie it seems fair to me for TSI to charge Voltage thousands of dollars for loss of a $500/year subscriber, particularly if TSI can prove that Voltage was the cause of the cancelled subscription.
February 25, 2014

honestly curious (but not the other curious) said:

@golfasaurus
i dont think so.

am i the only one who sees teksavvys move to oppose the request as a marketing tactic? With all the NSA and other privacy stuff out there lately, it was a brillant pr move on their part. It appeals to their customer base. None of the other ISP's pushed back, i guess because they have been around long enough to know the laws and the inevitable outcome of figting this type of information request..Im not suggesting that subscriber info should be handled lightly by any means, but it did seem like an exercise in futility. BUT we all know that these days any way to get your name splashed all over the web is just gravy, so maybe it was a smart business decision for them, you cant buy advertising like that (for that cheap)
February 25, 2014

BeReal said:

Too many implications
I agree with the statement that if it does go far Teksavvy will no doubt lose these 2000 subs. At 45$ average per sub that's a bit over a million dollars a year. Best case scenario they lose 80% of these subs.

Furthermore they will most likely lose a good amount of other subs and will likely have a drastic decline in newer subs, if anything this crushes the ISP for 3 to 4 years at least.

Now onto the client side, claiming money for torrenting as a crapshoot, half of these will be kids living at home, then you have friends that were over, open wifi's, the roommate which isn't on the internet account, there are so many different scenarios were the wrong person will have to pay and there's no way to ever control this.

The only thing Voltage pictures is doing here is wasting money and hurting it's already damaged reputation, bullying should never be tolerated in any form. Yes yes they have their content potentially stolen but still they're a multi million dollar company going after the little guy and no matter how you put it, to me it looks like bullying.

This is just a scare tactic and good for them they might get a couple hundred people to change their habits and simply stream these movies on the million other sites that provide streaming. The fight is not worth fighting for, there's no coming out of this as a winner on the large scale unless you kill the internet.
February 25, 2014

Eric said:

Response to Laroquod
Laroquod he didn't need to put anything in the blog about that for a very good reason.

We have a perfect example about what happens in these cases just south of us and its called the United States.
The MIPAA and RIAA with billions of dollars behind them couldn't make this work in the courts it sure not going to work up here.

The problem is actually proving wrong doing of the person in question when its next to impossible to prove they were on the other end of the computer without huge costs.
It didn't work and eventually they figured out that providing a better service for a respectable price made far more sense.

In this case its nothing more then trolling and the courts already know this but lack enough proof to drop things outright.

This is a very simple case of certain cost very likely outweighing possible profit.
Since moneys everything to these people it all most a certainty that this is the end for voltage up here.

Times are also changing with the likes of itunes and netflixs showing that big big money can be made by providing down-loaders a sure alternative for a cheap price.
February 25, 2014

An Author said:

@Julia van Blokland
>I am curious though, if it wasn't a production company that's been deemed "troll" would you support the lawsuit then? Or is it any lawsuit that attempts to prevent further unauthorized uses of people's IP?

This is a good question. My answer to that is that I do not deny that Voltage should be able to obtain compensation for lost income. The problem I have is the amount of damages they are seeking which, if every person was forced to pay the maximum, would exceed the theatre revenue for some of their movies. Plus, if the account holder wishes to assert his innocence, then the cost of doing so is expensive. This does not seem fair and reasonable.

The value of a movie to the viewer is no more than the rental price or, worst case, the purchase price of the movie. Using a 5 or 10 X multiplier to discourage further copying would result in awards of $30-$150, not the thousands that Voltage claims plus the cost of fighting this in court.

I know a small percentage of people are stealing my book. They always will. It's not a significant enough loss to worry about. In the case of most of the Voltage movies, which are rated poorly and had poor box office take, the real loss to Voltage is much smaller than they care to admit.

Warning letters to the account holders should be sent out first so that they can modify the behaviour of people at their household. If copying continues, then Voltage should be able to claim a reasonable amount for infringements.

I still maintain that Voltage is going after "easy pickings" and it will do little to reduce the real losses caused by organized crime. It may tie up our courts for little reduction of global infringement. Voltage's time and money would be better spent making their movies easily accessible for a reasonable price. This will reap higher returns to offset the remaining infringements.
February 26, 2014

trolling is a business model said:

@An Author
Voltage is a known troll that tries to make money by suing people for unreasonable amounts of money. All their so called "works" are loosing (look up numbers on the internet). If they want to stop "piracy" by the way of justice for real they should go after initial uploaders of their files. However, they never do that - going after initial uploader is not that lucrative financially. Also, I strongly suspect Voltage and other similar trolls share their loosing "works" over BitTorrent themselves in order to run a copyright trolling racket as a parallel business scheme.
February 26, 2014

Julia said:

@An Author
A few thoughts on your comments.

>The problem I have is the amount of damages they are seeking which, if every person was forced to pay the maximum, would exceed the theatre revenue for some of their movies.

Can you or I know with any amount of certainty what revenue their movies would have generated in the theatre if no unauthorized dissemination of theirs works accrued in the first place?

>Plus, if the account holder wishes to assert his innocence, then the cost of doing so is expensive. This does not seem fair and reasonable."

IMO it's more unreasonable that any company or individual has to incur the dreadful amount of expense enforcing their IP Rights against people that absolutely know their breaking copyright laws.

>In the case of most of the Voltage movies, which are rated poorly and had poor box office take, the real loss to Voltage is much smaller than they care to admit."

I consider myself an artist, some like my work others do not. Ratings should have no impact on enforcement, or justice for wrong doing.

>Warning letters to the account holders should be sent out first

Wasn't the ISP the moving party to oppose exactly what you suggested? An additional cost of $30,000 as quoted by an informed source for Voltage to fight the motion.

My son calls this whack-a-mole, but what an incredibly expensive game for everyone involved!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
Julia
February 26, 2014

Ruprecht said:

@Julia
IMHO. Artists (insecure as they are) and others that think they are artisys always assume that whatever they create has a value. The truth is in 99% of cases there is no real value.

If your art after multiple tries does not bring you a official lifestyle that is advertised by mass media maybe it is not needed alltogether? Maybe its time to change your "profession" and do something real? After all creators of Avatar do not need to sue people for "piracy". Maybe because Voltage's "works" are eccentially a useless garbage that should have not be created in a first place?
February 26, 2014

volpz said:

It's just my individual opinion
If I don't watch and listen to content that I personally consider crap, does it make creators of that content automatically entitled to profit?
February 26, 2014

@Ruprecht said:

seriously?
Ruprecht,
Many of the most significant artists we know died penniless. You're implying that if an artist isnt recognized my the mainstream media, then its not "valuable". You can't possibly belive this. These people had the courage and stamina to keep going nonetheless and we are lucky today to be enlightened enough to appreciate them... Im not suggesting voltage is the next van gogh but maybe re-read what you wrote there, its a little much
February 26, 2014

Ruprecht said:

@seriously?
To be honest Van Gogh did not change my life the way thirsty copyright holders want me to believe. At least I don't feel that change, maybe you do for whatever reason, "superhuman abilities" and such :). However, someone who currently parsites on his works re-selling them for their own profit definetly benefited by the standards of current consumerism consumed society. In the meantime people in Africa and other parts of the world have no drinking water and don't care about some artist that is (or was) exploited by the society material rules. They simply need drinking water.

Movie studios and especially their executives that didn't work a day in their lives want me to pay for their stupid works regardless? Why is that? Do they struggle selecting color for another Porshe and yacht? Oh my! They change my life so much that I don't want to watch all that garbage anymore.
February 26, 2014

Ruprecht said:

@seriously?
And by the way I pay for the content I like directly to artists I like. I think that's the way it should be. Leeches can bite their hands regardless. People are changing no matter how many copyright lawsuites parasites are going to launch.
February 26, 2014

@Ruprecht said:

...
they only want you to pay if you consume it, seems fair enough. wouldnt the simple answer be not to consume it in the first place?

dont drag the folks from africa in here, thats a bit extreme when youre talking about (mostly) a bunch of kids crying over the fact that their free ride is over
February 26, 2014

Ruprecht said:

@...
Folks from Africa exist same as lazy entitled executives that are drooling over their new Maserati or $10+ million bonus for who knows what. Don't bring up poor artists, they are screwed by distributors and other leeches that OWN their content. IMHO: Voltage movies are crap and should not be made in a first place. "Balls to the wall"? Give me a break! :)

In similar cases in US some lawyers representing porn-kings side mentioned that about 30% of defendants in copyright cases are innocent but they are willing to get money anyway from anyone who is affraid of troll's blind greedy hand. So go ahead. Punish kids or to be correct their parents. "Eat their liver with nice bottle of Chianti" too while you are at it. Meanwhile people en mass consume less and less crappy content. How are you going to deal with that? By taking their firstborns or making your crappy content cheap and accessible like smart companies do? I doubt Voltage's content has a chance in a real free market economy.
February 26, 2014

davegravy said:

@Julia
Consider what is essentially an international monopoly: a collection of "independant" organizations across the world which just happen to cooperate with one another on everything from lobbying to product pricing, collectively controlling all the media distribution channels, and owning all the rights to popular music/movies. It's an empire.

People know there's something a little bit wrong with downloading things for free, but they don't view the person/people they think they're hurting as the most morally affluent people either. Sure, artists may be getting hurt too, but in many people's view they're getting screwed by big media anyways.

Add to it that people have the NSA staring down their throats, news media filled to the brim with reports of all sorts of government corruption, a telecom industry which is equally crooked, and people just can't feel too badly about a few petty (in relative terms) injustices they commit.

February 27, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Julia
> IMO it's more unreasonable that any company or individual has to incur the dreadful amount of expense enforcing their IP Rights against people that absolutely know their breaking copyright laws.

That would be bad but that's not what Voltage is doing here.

The reality is they can't enforce their IP rights on the Internet, sorry but that's just how it is. Every movie, TV show and everything else that can be made into code is now on the Internet and suing a 2,000 people will not change that.

Voltage knows this, their experts in IT certainly knows this, everyone knows this.

What Voltage is actually doing is trying to monetize their IP rights, via "speculative invoicing". They have done it in the States along with other "trolls" and that's what they're trying to do here.

The fact that it costs them money is nothing compared to the money they thought they were going to make from the scheme.
February 27, 2014

@bullettruthtony said:

...
"The reality is they can't enforce their IP rights on the Internet, sorry but that's just how it is. Every movie, TV show and everything else that can be made into code is now on the Internet and suing a 2,000 people will not change that."

this is delusional tony, this isnt just about voltage or these 2000 jokers on bittorent. What youre suggesting is that we just give up on copyright because people dont want to get fined, whats next, no fines for speeding, just warnings...suuure this thread is hilarious
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

@bullettruthtony @davegravy
This decision does seem to establish an effective filter on Norwich order motions made with a view to copyright troll potential infringers. But in ordering the release of information about the identities of Teksavvy users, the FCC has given the green light to other companies following the same path as Voltage—gather IP information, establish a bona fide case, and aggregate enough potential claims to make the claims cost effective despite the statutory ceiling on individual damages.

In effect, this decision establishes a process for copyright holders to pursue claims against alleged infringers. Copyright trolls may be barred from compelling ISPs to release their customers’ information through Norwich orders, but copyright holders who are serious about commencing litigation now have an important precedent to use against alleged infringers.
February 27, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@Whoever it was that said
> this is delusional tony,

Huh? I'm imagining that every piece of media is on the Torrents? Go to Pirate's Bay and punch in anything you care to imagine in their search engine.

> this isnt just about voltage or these 2000 jokers on bittorent.

Of course it isn't, the TSI 2,000 are a fraction of a fraction of the total "pirates" out there.

> What youre suggesting is that we just give up on copyright because people dont want to get fined,

I'm not suggesting any such thing. What I am saying is that suing people is not going to stop copyright violations via bittorrents.

> whats next, no fines for speeding, just warnings...

Uh... actually cops will do that quite often if you're polite and all your stuff is in order but speeding laws are for safety, are you suggesting that people are being hurt or killed by downloading movies?
February 27, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@ grinch who stole christmas
> , and aggregate enough potential claims to make the claims cost effective despite the statutory ceiling on individual damages

I'm not sure your math makes sense there.

Unless Voltage can bundle all 2,000 cases into one they're going to have to do them one at a time.

Now we know the cap is $5,000 and maybe if Voltage could get that it would be worth their while but the court has made it clear they're not into making trolling profitable.

So maybe Voltage could get between $100 to $500 per case, probably not more than $150 as Geist points out.

See we can't forget that what was copied was a movie with a retail value of $10 at most. A court is not going to make someone pay $5000 for it, that just is not going to happen.

The other problem is they've scooped up people who didn't download anything copyrighted and if those cases show the faults in CANPIRE's software, just as the German courts did?

Well that won't make things any better for them will it? Remember it's going to be the same court hearing all these cases.

Voltage may press on because their lawyers get paid win or lose and the guy who runs Voltage seems a touch crazy and stupid but they're not going to make money at it.
February 27, 2014

@bullettruthtony said:

kinda the same as this?
http://torrentfreak.com/billbo...es-140227/

i guess that makes billboard a bunch of trolls too?
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

@bullettruthtony
Voltage is only one production company on the planet with holdings.
Unless you consider every copyright holder a "troll" I think it's safe to say Christmas is over for the free-loaders. Copyright holders now have an important precedent to use against alleged infringers in Canada.
I wish you could see the smile on face!
February 27, 2014

@grinch said:

...
I cant wait to see everyone throw each other under the bus when it all starts to fall apart.
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

@bullettruthtony
>i guess that makes billboard a bunch of trolls too?

Not in my opinion. It's another reason to smile!
February 27, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@The preson who still hasn't figured out what the Title box is for
> billboard a bunch of trolls too?

I guess you didn't read the article you linked to because:

a) it answers none of my points.
b) it takes place in America, this is Canada
c) If Voltage offered a $20 settlement per infraction, a fair price, they wouldn't be trolls. They want considerably more so they are trolls.

> Voltage is only one production company on the planet with holdings.

Quite right but they're one of the few doing the troll thing.

> Unless you consider every copyright holder a "troll" I think it's safe to say Christmas is over for the free-loaders.

No, I guess you don't know what a "troll" is in this context? Did you even bother to read what the court just said? You should, it explains what a troll is.

And no, the "freeloaders" are still loading free. The only thing that seems to dampen "piracy" are services like Netflix and Spotify. All the trolls do is encourage the sale and use of VPNs, private torrents and seedboxes.

> Copyright holders now have an important precedent to use against alleged infringers in Canada.

They certainly do, those with legitimate claims can now appeal to a specialized court and those that are "trolls" will go home with lawyer bills to show for their efforts.

It's weird you don't seem to understand what's going on yet you talk about it as if you do.

February 27, 2014

An Author said:

@Julia
> Can you or I know with any amount of certainty what revenue their movies would have generated in the theatre if no unauthorized dissemination of theirs works accrued in the first place?

Box office information is available for many of the movies at IMDb.com. A Pro account gives you even more information. There are a variety of publications and web sites, including Variety.com, that publish this information.

The quality of the vast majority of Voltage movies gives them very little exposure in theatres. Theatre owners want to make money and putting pap on the screen doesn't do that. You can see from the week-to-week box office returns that even good movies don't have an extended run. So those movies that do make it to the theatre are out within a few weeks with rapidly declining theatre count. It will take hard evidence for me to believe Voltage's revenue was impacted significantly by downloading while the movie was still in the theatres. Voltage doesn't make a good return when nobody wants to watch their movies. Surprise!

> IMO it's more unreasonable that any company or individual has to incur the dreadful amount of expense enforcing their IP Rights against people that absolutely know their breaking copyright laws.

Here you have assumed that the account holder is the infringer. That will be true for some but not all. So the innocent will be required to defend themselves because the complainant has not identified the actual infringer. The cost to do so will be significant and thus if Voltage asks for an amount less than the cost of hiring a lawyer and taking time of work, etc., then the innocent will make an economic choice to pay up. They then become victims too. Is that fair? Or should Voltage be required to identify the actual infringer? I don't care if that's difficult or impossible, that's not the problem of the account holder who is blind-sided by a demand letter.

With very few exceptions, such as ticketing the car owner on a red light camera infraction, the legal system requires charges be laid only against the actual perpetrator with evidence to prove it. I certainly do not think the wealthy movie industry deserves this exemption just because they can afford the lawyers. There is no demand for thousands of dollars for a red light infraction and, speaking only for myself, I find that infraction due to its safety concerns far, far more important than some kid who downloads a poor quality movie.

If your neighbour steals your paper off your porch once, sure, call the cops. They'll come right over, code 3 lights and sirens. Or maybe they'll come over the next day, talk to the neighbour and say knock it off. If the neighbour continues to steal your paper, that's different. The penalty is trivial compared to what Voltage is likely to demand.

As an author, I don't worry about petty theft of my book. If I took Amazon to court demanding they turn over the list of all the customers who returned my book so that I could send out demand letters knowing that some of them willfully infringed, and demanded thousands of dollars per copy, I'd be crazy. My real fight is with the organized crime family called Amazon who is legally ripping off authors.

If Voltage was championing the fight against organized crime copyright theft, then maybe I'd say Voltage is just being consistent going after the smallest fish. They're not. They've shown themselves to be cowards.

The various streaming services and discount retailer's have clearly shown that the vast majority of people are willing to pay a reasonable amount for quality content. Voltage should pursue that model rather than tie up the courts for petty infringements. As a taxpayer, I don't want our courts abused this way.

> Ratings should have no impact on enforcement, or justice for wrong doing.

I think I would agree with you here if Voltage was making an attempt to produce quality product. They do have some excellent movies but most of them appear to be the "artist" tripping over a can of paint and trying to sell the "painting," knowing it won't sell well but hey, let's put it up on the Internet and then we can reap rewards by extorting people too curious or stupid that download the movie. When this becomes the business model, then it's trolling and doesn't deserve to tie up the courts and use up taxpayer's money.
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

@bullettruthtony
>It's weird you don't seem to understand what's going on yet you talk about it as if you do.

LOL I was thinking the exact same thing about you. Don't you just love democracy!
February 27, 2014

bullettruthtony said:

@ grinch who stole christmas
> Don't you just love democracy!

...

Right.

So you don't understand "democracy" either nor are you going to answer my actual points.

Think we're done here.
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

@bullettruthtony
>Think we're done here.
Yup
February 27, 2014

grinch who stole christmas said:

...
>I cant wait to see everyone throw each other under the bus when it all starts to fall apart.

Word is Google is supplying the buses.
February 27, 2014

@grinch said:

...
hahahahahahaha
chauffeured by the eff of course.
Maybe they will argue that bad movies dont deserve copyright protection because they aren't a "useful art"
February 27, 2014

Eric V. said:

...
It is curious to me why Prof. Geist and some others believe that the new statutory damage cap of $5,000 applies in this instance. Although Voltage's lawsuit was filed after the changes to the Copyright Act came into force on November 7, 2012, the alleged infringements all occurred prior to this date when the old statutory damages cap was in force. Am I missing something, or is the date the cause of action arose not the key date for determining the applicable law?

Damages are typically calculated from the date they were incurred, not the date of the claim. There is a strong presumption in law against a statute being interpreted retrospectively, and there is no language in the amended Copyright Act to suggest it applies to infringements prior to November 7, 2012. This is particularly true if a court views statutory damages as a vested right of a copyright owner, in which case the damages likely were considered vested at the time the cause of action arose.

The old statutory damages cap was $20,000 per work infringed, regardless of commercial or non-commercial use. This may be an academic point, though, since I agree with most here that it is very unlikely a court would award such a high amount for the types of infringement alleged.
February 27, 2014

Baffled said:

What am I missing?
I don't know what Voltage is demanding as compensation but it appears they can get up to $5000 or a judge could award as low as $100.

But the movie would cost less than $20 to buy and $5 to rent. So why are they asking for so much money?

Can anybody tell me what a judge would fine someone for a first offence for shoplifting a DVD from Best Buy?

Shouldn't Voltage be asking for that amount? What am I missing here?
February 27, 2014

wasnt me said:

judges are people
a good friend of mine was depresed and stole a car idling outside a corner store. he was caught and arrested and spent a weekend in jail but the judge thought he didn't need to be jailed farther or fined cause it was a first offense so he let him go on probation and read the riot act to him telling him what would happen if he ever came back. also the car he stole wasnt jacked and less than $5000 so it wasnt as serious ha ha maybe voltage should make better movies. his judge was a nice guy and made sure my friend had another chance so voltage judge might do the same. dont steal lol.
February 27, 2014

Ole_PAS said:

VOLATGE SHOULD PAY UP!!
I watched about 30 minutes of a Voltage movie last week, just as much as I could bear. I work for 28 bucks an hr. I should sue Voltage and try to recoup 14 bucks for wasting my time...
February 27, 2014

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