Canada Preps Launch Of An Actually Mostly Sensible ISP Copyright Warning System
from the almost-getting-it-right-for-once dept
Over the last several years, Canada has been working on copyright reform that not only actually makes sense, but, unlike efforts like SOPA here in the States, actually tries to incorporate user concerns (gasp). As part of that reform Canada reworked its ISP-to-user copyright infringement notification process, steering it toward a “notice and notice” system, which as we’ve noted in the past is vastly preferable to notice and takedown (or the ridiculous notice and staydown efforts) as it’s less likely to stumble drunkenly into the realm of censorship and a litany of other abuses.
Canada’s new ISP notification system is preparing to finally take flight starting January 1, and like the country’s copyright reform efforts, it tries to actually incorporate the concerns of all parties involved (gasp, again). The system is first and foremost designed to raise awareness of copyright violations. That really doesn’t take much — Canadian ISPs state that simply notifying the user (especially the user’s parent) puts a big dent in infringement right out of the gate. More specifically, ISPs claim 89% of notice recipients don’t infringe after the second notice.
Canada’s implementation manages to educate Billy’s parents on copyright while still managing to protect user identities and legal rights. And while Canada’s notice and notice system requires that ISPs forward on copyright violation notices to subscribers (for penalty of up to $10,000 if they refuse), it then grants legal ISPs safe harbor protection from liability. If a copyright holder isn’t happy with this and wants to proceed with legal action, they have to follow strict procedures and go get a court order (gasp, in triplicate).
Generally, the system is seen as a step up for copyright reform, though that’s not to say Canada’s implementation doesn’t have faults. As Canadian law professor Michael Geist notes, their notice and notice system doesn’t specify what the notices should say, leaving the door open to “settlement-o-matic” threats. Since the entertainment industry also isn’t required to compensate the ISPs for the workload, you the consumer will of course be paying for the program in the form of broadband rate hikes:
“There are fears that Internet providers will be inundated with notices, particularly since the government decided against establishing a fee for forwarding them. That could lead to increased costs for consumers. Moreover, the government also declined to specify the precise content of the notices, leading to concerns that some copyright holders may include threats to sue alongside dubious demands to settle the allegations for thousands of dollars.”
Geist proceeds to note that Canada gets it mostly right and its implementation of copyright infringement notifications will likely be emulated by other countries. Well, probably not the States, where it seems inevitable the U.S. ISP notification effort (aka “six strikes”) is destined to grow increasingly bloated as the entertainment industry slowly but surely demands expansion of the program. As it stands in the States, many infringers have simply hidden infringement by using popular BitTorrent proxy services. While Canada is busy getting it right, perhaps here in the States we can start seriously exploring outlawing proxies and VPNs to the benefit of job creators everywhere?