Canadian internet consumers who illegally download movies, TV shows and music are getting official notices to cease and desist from the copyright owners. ISP’s such as Bell are providing subscriber email addresses within a few hours of the download.
The notices are sent by computerized snooping programs monitoring known illegal download sites. They can spot illegal downloads very quickly.
The first email is a warning to cease and desist. If the copyright owner sues you for the infringing download, your ISP will give them your name and other contact information. It’s the law in Canada. Your ISP may also cut off your internet access under their Terms of Service.
Universal Studios hired MarkMonitor, a Thomson Reuters subsidiary, to watch for copyright infringement. MarkMonitor know what was downloaded from a BitTorrent peer-to-peer source, your IP address, the exact time, meta data of the file, and the port number of your router.
The cease and desist email is long and complicated. It’s meant to intimidate people and make them stop downloading. Under the law, copyright holders can sue for damages and loss of profits. In the case non-commercial infringement, there is a pre-trial settlement of between $100 and $5,000 per court case.
There have been no cases decided on the new copyright law, that I can find. Some commentators suggest the courts will favor the lower side of damages. I’m not a lawyer but I would not count on that.
If you continue to download movies, TV shows or music after receiving repeated notices to cease and desist, the court might find your conduct high-handed and worthy of higher damages.
Most people would not like to hire a lawyer to defend them from a lawsuit, let alone one from a large multi-national studio. The legal fees alone will be punitive and you can end up paying a substantial part of the studio’s legal fees in Canadian courts.
For an interesting case on the old Canadian copyright regime, see 1395804 Ontario Limited (Blacklock’s Reporter) v Canadian Vintners Association, 2015 CanLII 65885 (ON SCSM).
The warning email notice
“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, movies, TV shows, videos or games. As a result, we must let you know that we have received the below notification related to your account.
Please note that receipt of a content owner’s notice may not mean there has been any legal action against you. Seek legal advice if you are unsure whether or not the penalties or fines that may be contained in the attached are enforceable. The simplest way to prevent further alleged infringements is to make sure no one is using your account to illegally download material.
For more information on why you received this notice, please visit: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02920.html or contact the content owner directly. Please do not contact Bell Aliant as we do not have any further information to share with you.
—–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
You are being contacted on behalf of Universal City Studios LLC and its affiliated companies because your Internet account was identified as having been used recently to illegally copy and/or distribute copyright protected works. The name of the movie or TV show, the date and time at which the claimed infringement took place, the IP address, and other relevant information relating to this notice is summarized for you at the bottom of this letter.
Our goal is to ensure you take action to prevent your Internet account from being used for illegal activities in the future, and to encourage you to take advantage of the many exciting and innovative ways you can now enjoy movie and TV content online legally. In Canada, there are more and more legitimate sites and services that provide high-quality, on demand film and TV shows, offering the easiest, fastest, safest, highest quality product and viewing experience possible. If you visit www.wheretowatchincanada.ca, you will find an array of different types of sites and services offering numerous ways to legally access the entertainment you want.
Now that you have received this notice of claimed infringement associated with your Internet account, there are some things that you can do immediately to avoid receiving further notices and to prevent more serious consequences that may follow.
These actions include:
1. Stop downloading or uploading movies or TV shows without authorization when doing so constitutes copyright infringement;
2. Permanently delete from your computer(s) all unauthorized copies you may have already made of these movies and TV shows and consider disabling or deleting the peer to peer software that facilitates that activity; and
3. Make sure that anyone else who is authorized to use your Internet account is made aware of this notice – and take steps to ensure that your Internet account cannot be used by someone who is not authorized to do so.
The illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted works are prohibited under the Canadian Copyright Act. In addition, unauthorized copying and/or distributing of copyrighted content using your Internet account may be a violation of your ISP’s terms of service for which there are other consequences. Under Canada’s Copyright law, your ISP is now required to forward this notice to you, inform us that the notice has been forwarded, and retain records associated with this notice for prescribed periods of time.
The “Respect Copyright in Canada” website, accessible at www.respectcopyrightincanada.ca , offers resources to help you to ensure that your Internet account is not being used to violate copyright law. You can also learn how illegal reproduction and distribution of movies and TV shows hurts the Canadian economy and is a threat to the over 130,000 jobs across Canada in film and TV production alone.
If, after visiting www.respectcopyrightincanada.ca you still have questions, or if you believe that there has been an error, and you wish to contact us, you may do so by email at email@example.com
Universal City Studios LLC and its affiliated companies
* This letter is not a complete statement of the rights of the claimant or copyright owner in connection with this matter, and nothing contained herein constitutes an express or implied waiver of any rights, remedies or defense of the copyright owner, the claimants, and/or their affiliates, all of which are expressly reserved.
Title of Work SUITS (2011)
Claimant’s Name Universal City Studios LLC
Claimant’s Address NBC Universal 100 Universal City Plaza 1440/8/835 Universal City, CA 91608
Claimant’s Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org
Claimant’s Interest or Right in the Work email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Infringement Claimed Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution contrary to Sections 3 and 27 of the Copyright Act
Location Data for the Electronic Location to which the Claimed Infringement Relates 47.XX.XXX.XX
Date and Time of the Claimed Infringement Connected From 2016-02-09 T23:37:29.050Z
Connected To 2016-02-09 T23:37:45.677Z
Infringement Confirmed at 2016-02-09 T23:37:45.677Z
email@example.comT23:37:45.677Z (ip/port removed) chtwpe0118w-047054189064.dhcp-dynamic.FibreOP.pei.bellaliant.netP2P2016-02-09T23:37:45.677ZSUITS (2011)Suits.S05E08.HDTV.x264-KILLERS[ettv]242826009TVE5482DC3DBBC9740EA6DD4685C92A5F28D682DCDDMCASUITS (2011)truefalseManual and hash verification3< ![CDATA
– —End ACNS XML
Featured image is copyright Universal Studios.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network