War against intellectual properties’ infringement and piracy is becoming rougher and rougher for internet users around the world. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was rejected in Europe in 2012 and could have restrained right of all users of the European Union, was one of the most worrying bills for internet freedom’s advocates. A similar version of this bill, the C-11, was presented in Canada and was approved a few months ago. It seems today that more hardships will come for internet users in Canada!
An article written by The National Post on May 13th states that a major Montreal firm, Canipre, has been collecting proofs of illegal downloads from Canadian users. As of today, it could have gathered information about dozens of thousands of potential copyrights abusers, with more than 1 million pieces of evidence. This company, which offers unique services all around Canada, is currently serving major customers in the Cinema industry and is supporting them in their attempt to stop illegal distribution of movies on the web. Its work has led to a major trial that is about to take place between an American studio, Voltage Pictures, and a Canadian ISP provider called Teksavvy. Teksavvy could be forced to give up information about more than a thousand users of its services. A successful trial for Voltage Pictures and Canipre could create a precedent in Canada and lead to many more trials! Lawyers all over the country will have a lot of job to do, as most internet users have engaged at least once in illegal activities online. The managing director of Canipre, Barry Logan, says many more customers are waiting to start lawsuits if this first one is successful. A fierce battle could be on the verge of erupting…
The situation in the United States
In opposition to Canadian internet users, people in the US already have to be very careful when they try to grab illegal goodies online. After 5 years of trials, a woman was forced by the US Supreme Court to pay 222 000$ because she downloaded 24 songs illegally. Even though many peer-to-peer sharing platforms were shut down after allowing too many illegal activities, including the very popular Megaupload, Americans are still actively engaging in copyright infringement activities. It is, however, somewhat more dangerous for them. Statistics brought by The National Post’s article show that close to 200 000 people were sued in the United States since 2011.
Charles Bernard works for a Montreal lawyer cabinet, FSD Law Group.