Copyright threats and lawsuits against individuals have been around in Canada since 2004, when they were rejected by the federal court. Those threats receded for about a decade, but now they’re back. Copyright notices, litigation threats, settlement demands, and actual lawsuits have re-emerged at the very time that the music and movie industries are experiencing record music streaming revenues in Canada and massive popularity of online video services. James Plotkin, a lawyer with Caza Saikaley in Ottawa, joins the podcast this week to help sort through what the notices mean, the implications of the threats and lawsuits, and where Canadian law stands on the issue.
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 10: Lowdown on Lawsuits – James Plotkin on Copyright Threats, Notices, and Lawsuits
Movie Industry Denies Lawsuit Strategy Despite Proliferation of Legal Actions and Settlement Demands Against Thousands of Canadians
Over the past several years, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have received notifications from movie and television interests threatening high-priced lawsuits unless they agreed to pay settlement fees. Moreover, a recent strategy led by the law firm Aird & Berlis has resulted in hundreds of actual legal filings against individuals, using a reverse class action strategy described as a “legal machine”. Yet despite the proliferation of lawsuits and demand letters, the head of the movie industry in Canada recently told the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology that lawsuits against individuals were not part of their legal strategy.
THR reports that more than 20,000 individuals have been sued for downloading movies via BitTorrent in recent weeks. The suits may be part of a larger strategy that could see another 30,000 hit with lawsuits in the coming days.
The BBC reports that a UK law firm plans to file at least 15,000 legal demand letters earlier next year against people suspect of file sharing. The letters will threaten lawsuits but offer settlement terms of hundreds of pounds per person.
The Canadian Independent Record Production Association has posted its submission to the copyright consultation. Notwithstanding the industry's repeated assurances that it does not plan to file lawsuits in Canada, CIRPA calls on the government to establish "the retention of data by users for a sufficient period to allow for effective […]