Are Online Copyright Infringement Laws Affecting Canadians One Year Later?

Around one million files have been collected by Anti-piracy firm Canipre. All of these are on Canadians suspected of illegally sharing its clients’ work online in 2015

In January 2015 a law popularly known as notice-and-notice went into effect, this law requires internet service providers to forward copyright infringement alerts to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material like movies, television shows and music.

Around one million files have been collected by Anti-piracy firm Canipre. All of these are on Canadians suspected of illegally sharing its clients’ work online in 2015.

Canipre, which represents several major Canadian film studios, says each of these files represent a person the firm thinks could theoretically be sued for pirating its clients’ work.

TekSavvy Solutions Inc, an internet service provider, receives about 5,000 copyright infringement notices from studios and other copyright holders that monitor the Internet for piracy.

The company has to do various things to check the notices including ensuring the text of the notice complies with the law and matches the IP address of the right customer. This is a big task and is causing a lot of frustration for the ISPs. Also accusing customers of piracy is not great for business.

Holders of copyrights are however pleased with the law and have actively participated, as the daily notices to the ISPs show. They also feel that the requirement to forward the notices to suspected pirates is reducing online copyright theft.

This law here has even inspired others, in May last year a group of small film producers called the Internet Security Task Force called on the U.S. government to follow Canada’s anti-piracy model and cited data from CEG TEK, an anti piracy firm, that shows a dramatic reduction in piracy since the law came into effect.

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Illegal sharing of files came down by at least 61 percent in January among internet service providers that comply with the law, compared to the same month last year, EG TEK said. The company added that it noticed a correlation between how compliant an internet service provider is with the requirement to send infringement notices and the decrease in piracy.

There is a flip side to this as well, internet freedom advocates feel that some copyright holders are using the infringement notices to pass on misleading information and make big demands

There has also been a huge increase in the popularity of legal streaming services such as Netflix, Shomi and Spotify in the past year, Pirated streaming too has become more popular and it’s harder for anti-piracy firms to track those services than file sharers using BitTorrent.