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Canadian ISPs no longer have to pass on Big Content threats to pirates

by on29 January 2019

Copyright trolls abused the whole process

ISPs don’t have to pass along the millions of notices of alleged copyright infringement that demand payment, according to a new amendment to the Canadian Copyright Act.

The amendments, passed last month as part of Bill C-86, look to close a loophole in the copyright notice system, which saw companies trying to abuse the system to demand payment from Canadians for alleged infringements.

Canada’s copyright law was updated in 2015 and required ISPs to forward notices of alleged copyright infringement to customers from rights holders.

The system was designed to be a compromise, discouraging piracy without being punitive towards offenders.

University of Ottawa law professor and IP expert Michael Geist said the system was designed as an educational measure so people would become more aware of the limits of copyright said of the original purpose of the system.

However, copyright trolls were using it to include settlement demands. Companies used the system to threaten customers with massive fines if they refuse to pay.

These alleged abuses prompted the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, OpenMedia, Geist, and other experts to write an open letter to the government, calling for changes to fix the flawed notice-and-notice system.

Under the new amendments, a notice of claimed infringement shall not contain:

(a) an offer to settle the claimed infringement;
(b) a request or demand, made in relation to the claimed infringement, for payment or for personal information;
(c) a reference, including by way of the hyperlink, to such an offer, request or demand; and
(d) any other information that may be prescribed by regulation.

Under the new rules, any notices that contain such information do not have to be passed along by internet providers.


Last modified on 29 January 2019
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