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Old 02-21-2014, 02:57 AM   #1
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Illegal downloaders in federal court’s crosshairs

Illegal downloaders in federal court?s crosshairs

Order to release names, addresses of suspected ‘pirates’ could affect millions

By Gillian Shaw, Vancouver Sun February 20, 2014

Illegal downloaders in federal court’s crosshairs

In a groundbreaking decision released Thursday by Canada’s Federal Court, the Internet service provider TekSavvy Solutions was ordered to release to Voltage Pictures LLC the names and addresses of more than 2,000 Internet users suspected of pirating movies.
Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canadians who illegally download music, movies and other copyright material may no longer be able to hide from potential lawsuits.

In a groundbreaking decision released Thursday by Canada’s Federal Court, the Internet service provider TekSavvy Solutions was ordered to release to Voltage Pictures LLC the names and addresses of more than 2,000 Internet users suspected of pirating movies. Voltage is a Hollywood production company that has made films including The Hurt Locker, which won six Oscars, and the upcoming American Heist.

While the decision relates to movies, it could affect millions of Canadians who listen to pirated music on their iPods or download pirated TV shows onto hard drives.

The decision, which comes eight months after the case was heard in Montreal, takes away a shield that Canadians have enjoyed but Americans lost long ago — being able to hide behind an Internet Protocol address. The IP address is the only link forensic software companies in Canada had to identify illegal downloaders.

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic intervened in the case, arguing that “privacy considerations and broader interests of justice should prevail.”

Thursday’s ruling would give copyright holders the ability to identify copyright infringers and use that information to enforce their copyright. In the mid-2000s in the United States, parents, college students and others were surprised by notices of expensive lawsuits over illegal downloading. In one of the recent successful prosecutions, a Minnesota woman was ordered in September 2012 to pay damages of US$220,000 over 24 illegally downloaded songs.

The court ruling ordered TekSavvy to release the names and addresses of subscribers linked to IP addresses suspected of illegal downloading. That means if your kids, your tenants, or anyone else using your Internet connection is illegally downloading digital files, you could be held liable.

“CIPPIC characterizes Voltage and Canipre Inc. (Canipre), the forensic investigation company retailed by Voltage to track the names of the Subscribers, as “copyright trolls” engaged in “speculative invoicing” which seeks to intimidate individuals into easy settlements by way of demand letter and threats of litigation,” the judgment read. “It is alleged that the cost and the uncertainty or stigma of litigation coerces most individuals into making payments, whether or not they were involved in the unauthorized copying and distribution of films on the Internet.”

The court decision, in which Voltage Pictures LLC took TekSavvy to court to force it to produce the names, is related to more than 2,000 subscribers. But Canipre, the Montreal-based forensics software company that identified the suspected illegal downloads, has files on more than five million Canadians who have been illegally downloading copyright material — including many in British Columbia.

“What is important is that the court has decided that infringers, pirates and digital content thieves can’t expect to hide behind the anonymity of an ISP,” said Barry Logan, managing director of Canipre. “A user can’t expect they have a level of shielding with their IP address. Their ISP will be ordered to release information as to who that IP address belongs to.

“It’s an important decision for copyright holders.”

Logan’s company has collected the IP addresses of five million Canadian who are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing and have downloaded from BitTorrent sites. In Canada, people held liable for illegal downloading could face statutory damages of up to $5,000.

Under Bill C-11, Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act rights holders have been able to send copyright infringement notices to Internet providers, who in turn notify subscribers linked to the IP address. Many of these notices have been dismissed by subscribers since up until now, their names and addresses have not been available to the rights holders.

The latest Federal Court decision means that instead of a warning letter, Canadians could find themselves liable for statutory damages.

gshaw@vancouversun.com

vancouversun.com/digitallife
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:03 AM   #2
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Good.

They should now go after all the illegal iptv boxes been sold in south Asian stores which not only air pirated south Asian channels but also english channels and movies. It's not fair to content producers who are already struggling to make a buck have their hard work pirated and have others profit from it.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:11 AM   #3
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Good.

They should now go after all the illegal iptv boxes been sold in south Asian stores which not only air pirated south Asian channels but also english channels and movies. It's not fair to content producers who are already struggling to make a buck have their hard work pirated and have others profit from it.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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I've got nothing to worry about, I don't even download music unless I pay for it. Not because of fear of getting caught, but because it is just wrong.

It's too bad jail term or being fined is the only way to stop thieves. Parents, teach your children right from wrong and be a good role model. If everyone did that, this world would be a better place.

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Old 02-21-2014, 06:54 AM   #5
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Copyright laws will need a massive overhaul before I'm ready to condem piracy.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
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As someone who worked over 15 years developing software I have a strong dislike for assholes who think it's OK to steal others IP simply because it's not a physical product.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:01 AM   #7
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Michael Geist - Downloading Decision: Federal Court Establishes New Safeguards on Disclosures in File Sharing Suits


Downloading Decision: Federal Court Establishes New Safeguards on Disclosures in File Sharing Suits



Thursday February 20, 2014

The federal court has released its much anticipated decision in Voltage Pictures v. Does, a case involving demands that TekSavvy, a leading independent ISP, disclose the identities of roughly 2,000 subscribers alleged to have downloaded movies without authorization. The case attracted significant attention for several reasons: it is the first major "copyright troll" case in Canada involving Internet downloading (the recording industry previously tried unsuccessfully to sue 29 alleged file sharers), the government sought to discourage these file sharing lawsuits against individuals by creating a $5,000 liability cap for non-commercial infringement, TekSavvy ensured that affected subscribers were made aware of the case and CIPPIC intervened to ensure the privacy issues were considered by the court. Copies of all the case documents can be found here.

The court set the tone for the decision by opening with the following quote from a U.S. copyright case:

"the rise of so-called 'copyright trolls' - plaintiffs who file multitudes of lawsuits solely to extort quick settlements - requires courts to ensure that the litigation process and their scarce resources are not being abused."

The court was clearly sensitive to the copyright troll concern, noting that "given the issues in play the answers require a delicate balancing of privacy rights versus the rights of copyright holders. This is especially so in the context of modern day technology and users of the Internet."

So how did the court strike the balance?

In short, by issuing a split decision. The court ruled that Voltage Pictures had met the legal standard for an order to disclose subscriber names and addresses, but it established a series of conditions and protections that extend far beyond previous cases. The conditions include court oversight of the "demand letter" that will be sent to subscribers, with a Case Management Judge assigned to review and approve its contents before being sent to any subscriber. Moreover, the letter must include a message 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."

The win for Voltage Pictures is the order to disclose the subscriber names and addresses. The court felt bound by the Federal Court of Appeal Sony BMG case, which established that a "bona fide" claim is the standard needed for a court order (CIPPIC had argued for a higher "prima facie" standard). The court found that Voltage met the bona fide standard based on its statement of claim.

While Voltage argued that should be the end of the issue and privacy issues should not be a concern, the court was extremely troubled by the prospect of copyright trolling. It stated:

"This [Voltage's position] would be an acceptable position but for the spectre raised of the 'copyright troll' as it applies to these cases and the mischief that is created by compelling the TekSavvy's of the world to reveal private information about their customers. There is also the very real spectre of flooding the Court with an enormous number of cases involving the subscribers many of whom have perfectly good defences to the alleged infringement. Finally, the 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."

Having cited the dangers of copyright trolling (and noted the limited damages available in these cases), the court canvassed the caselaw in the U.S. and the U.K. and identified principles that go beyond prior Canadian caselaw. First, where there is compelling evidence of "improper motive" of a plaintiff, the court might consider denying the motion entirely. Second, if such evidence is unavailable, there are numerous safeguards that can be established.

In this case, the court ruled that there is some evidence that Voltage has been engaged in litigation which may have an improper purposes, but not enough to deny the motion altogether. Instead, the court ordered release of the subscriber names and addresses with the following safeguards:
•the case will be managed by a Case Management Judge
•TekSavvy will only disclose subscriber name and address information
•Voltage will pay all reasonable legal costs incurred by TekSavvy before the release of any information
•the demand letter to subscribers will include a copy of the court order and "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"
•the contents of the demand letter will be approved by the parties (including CIPPIC) and the Case Management Judge
•any further cases brought against subscribers will also be case managed
•the information released by TekSavvy will remain confidential, will not be disclosed to other parties, and will not be used for other purposes. The information will not be disclosed to the general public or the media.
The safeguards are significant, since they ensure the active involvement of the courts in the sending of demand letters and likely eliminate unwarranted scare tactics about potential liability. Moreover, given the cap on liability and the increased legal costs the court involvement will create (not to mention paying legal fees for the ISP), it calls into question whether copyright trolling litigation is economically viable in Canada. The federal court was clearly anxious to discourage such tactics and its safeguards certainly make such actions less likely.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:08 AM   #8
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As someone who worked over 15 years developing software I have a strong dislike for assholes who think it's OK to steal others IP simply because it's not a physical product.
do you believe exposure of your product is better than no exposure?

i'd argue that piracy exposes your product to the masses and that is a positive that's why companies release trials/free versions/ betas/ etc. The more people know about it, talk about it, recommend it, etc. which will drive sales since not everyone pirates

do you believe those who pirate your product would actually buy it if they had no choice?

experience suggests no most people would just go looking for something else or the cheapest alternative

do you believe that all those whom pirate your product never end up paying for it?

facts say people who pirate also buy and even buy what they've pirated. increased ticket sales for movies The Most Pirated Movies of 2013 ? And Why Piracy Isn't Hurting the Box Office | Underwire | Wired.com (can't find the original study which showed the connection but there's an article discussing the same thing)

Japan also found piracy ended up driving up export sales for their content to countries where said content was never available RIETI - Do Illegal Copies of Movies Reduce the Revenue of Legal Products? The case of TV animation in Japan.

Experience has also shown that those who pirate do pay for some/all of what they've pirated. For me i'd dl a blu-ray or songs before they're released retail because i want my product ASAP and then I buy the product when it finally hits shelves.


not to say that piracy doesn't poorly affect content producers but rather that the piracy issue isn't completely bad and in some cases is a positive
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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Good.

They should now go after all the illegal iptv boxes been sold in south Asian stores which not only air pirated south Asian channels but also english channels and movies. It's not fair to content producers who are already struggling to make a buck have their hard work pirated and have others profit from it.
Yeah man, fuck those IPTV boxes.

By the way, which south asian stores sell these?
Feel free to PM me, I am going to undertake a personal investigation.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:28 AM   #10
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Yeah, piracy is 100% wrong but I do it.

The reason? Software is released incomplete but still costs tonnes of money, if gaming companies don't want to spend money on proper testing and also charge people $20 extra for a DLC to fix the product then I think I have a right, atleast ethically, to try out the product before I decide to spend such huge amount of money.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:38 AM   #11
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I download lots of stuff. All shit i would never have bought in the first place, so no they are NOT losing money. They are gaining exposure
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:40 AM   #12
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:01 AM   #13
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I will buy movies if they are good...I never buy without seeing it first
I always buy games
most of my music is streamed
netflix should release shows the same time as they broadcast/air...UK netflix only takes 1 day but it takes like half a year in the US/Canada
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:10 AM   #14
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I used to see at least 1 or 2 movies a week in the theater back in the day so I've purchased my fair share of tickets. Most movies suck nowadays but if I like it after watching then I'll buy it on BluRay. Theaters are packed nowadays and it's annoying. I've purchased thousands upon thousands of CD's over the years(mostly 90's) to the point that I feel I've paid my dues. Even old high school buddies would bring it up in conversation today. I would buy a few each week then hit Bellis Fair on the weekends for the "import" stuff that was $40 each at any local music store. Most stuff is available on the artists website nowadays anyway and if I like the artist I'll buy t-shirts and, more importantly, go see them live. I do not, however, download any programs or video games. Everything I've owned in that department I have purchased legitimately.

Interesting points StylinRed
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:16 AM   #15
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if they just made it easier for the user to access, piracy wouldn't be a huge deal. Apple makes downloading music ridiculously easy and cheap, makes me more inclined to just hit 3 buttons on my phone and own the songs I like to listen to. I'm sure netflix would be it's movie / shows counterpart but it doesn't give you that unlimited access of whatever you want. imagine if piratebay became government owned, then started charging 99cents per download, no accounts, automatically to your Internet bill, would you still use it?
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:34 AM   #16
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As someone who downloaded pirated software quite a bit back in the day and later found himself in the software industry, I don't find myself downloading software anymore. I've either found open-source projects that provide for my needs, or pay for software that I need and use.

For movies though, like many of you have said- I would never buy a movie that I was going to watch potentially once. If I download an unknown movie and end up loving it, it'll find it's way in my library.

I wonder why HBO doesn't raise a stink regarding their highly-pirated shows. GoT is consistently the highest-pirated show these past few years, yet I never hear about them going after seeders. If anything, they seem to almost take it as a badge of honour, as one of you suggested.

I guess I'll stop downloading movies soon. Sucks for studios as I'll pretty much end up watching movies that appeal to me, or are "must-watch" blockbusters.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:39 AM   #17
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I can't stand people that say "I download it to see if I like it. If I do, I buy it".

B.S.

How many of the free content you've stolen have you purchased? Do you stop watching/listening and delete the content half way in if you don't like it? Or do you just stick around for the ending? Can you walk into a McDonald's, order a number 3, and only pay for it if you enjoy it?

I can see why record/movie companies are doing this. Making a movie is serious business. It costs money. They don't do it to be nice so we can watch it for free.

P.s

I also download. I don't need to justify it though. I do it for the same reason other people do. Its at arms length and even better, costs nothing.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:48 AM   #18
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I can't stand people that say "I download it to see if I like it. If I do, I buy it".
[/i][/size]


i dont remember the last time i have pirated something, but i do online stream occasionally when i cant find it for rent in the play store "if movie"

and i buy plenty of movies i actually liked the first time i saw them either streamed, at a friends or movie theater.

im sure many others do this as well
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:49 AM   #19
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I don't think C11 covers devices, but with this ruling I can see the owners of those boxes can be held liable. I would wager the manufacturer of those boxes won't obfuscate the traffic. So I suspect the sellers of those boxes can get away with it.

As for the copyright holders for the south Asian channels, they can make a claim is if they have representation in Canada or North America.

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Good.

They should now go after all the illegal iptv boxes been sold in south Asian stores which not only air pirated south Asian channels but also english channels and movies. It's not fair to content producers who are already struggling to make a buck have their hard work pirated and have others profit from it.

Last edited by godwin; 02-21-2014 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:51 AM   #20
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I don't see why you need to stop now, since they already have you on the record.

I would say compare with the US precedents, 5k ceiling is actually really low.

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I guess I'll stop downloading movies soon. Sucks for studios as I'll pretty much end up watching movies that appeal to me, or are "must-watch" blockbusters.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:07 AM   #21
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Many years ago I would download PC games and spend hours and hours to simply download and install a crack. It's a lot of work to get pirated games to work with all the different patches and cracks. Sometimes more work than to just buy the game.

There are a lot of shitty games out there that expect you to shell out $40 to $60 when they first come out. In the past I would go out of my way to pirate the game even if the cracked version is only half functional to see if it is actually worth the money.

In present time I just buy all of them off of steam sales because it is convenient for me. I have also purchased my favorite games that I have pirated in the past.

In the past I would pirate games, play them half way then uninstall and delete them.
Now I pay to play them half way then uninstall and delete them.
If these companies want to get rid of piracy, start by making it more convenient and accessible for the consumer.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:20 AM   #22
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I looked at the list of movies Voltage Productions has done. I might be on that list. :S The did the Hurt Locker, which was a stellar movie. Pretty sure I saw that in theatres, then later downloaded it as well. Half the shows they produce are garbage not worth paying for.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #23
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I can't stand people that say "I download it to see if I like it. If I do, I buy it".

B.S.

How many of the free content you've stolen have you purchased? Do you stop watching/listening and delete the content half way in if you don't like it? Or do you just stick around for the ending? Can you walk into a McDonald's, order a number 3, and only pay for it if you enjoy it?
the stats and research shows that people do "buy it" though, so you can't call bs
also yes you can walk into a mcdonalds order a number 3 and only pay for it if you enjoy it. that is you can return it, In fact you can even get a free meal even if you've finished your meal!

Last edited by StylinRed; 02-21-2014 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:26 AM   #24
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Here's a question then... For those who feel downloading content is wrong, how about buying used movies or games from a store like Willowvideo? The movie or game studio doesn't see another dime from that disc after the initial purchase, regardless how many times it's sold and traded in.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #25
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By the time the gov catch up there will be other ways to download movies. As for myself. I mostly download movies that I already watch in the theater. Already paid for it so why should I pay another $20 to $30 again? If it is $5 then sure I don't mind paying for it.

There are tons of apps on itunes and google play store that stream movies/TV shows for free even websites that streams them.

Here is the thing $20 to $30 dollars for DVD is expensive and to be honest not a lot of people have DVD/Blue Ray player. It makes more sense for movie company to start a streaming service like Netflix or lower their prices.
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