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?

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Comments on “Canada Preps Launch Of An Actually Mostly Sensible ISP Copyright Warning System”

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14 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

why would anyone really want to ban proxies and vpns? many companies use them as a means to maintain security. it would be totally unfair to disallow the ordinary people to use them, especially if it were simply to aid the entertainment industries and prevent them further from actually getting off their fat, ancient, backward asses and joining the digital world! what i would like to see is these same industries actually doing something to try to prevent the media they complain about getting to the internet, by stopping it from getting out of the studios in the first place! nothing can get to the ‘net without it coming from the studios. if the studios themselves are not putting the stuff up, and i strongly suspect they are, someone on the inside must be. funny how there are virtually no cases about anyone being caught and prosecuted for doing this? it seems to me that this is intentional just to be able to go to the courts, go to the security forces, go to the government complaining about how stronger laws are needed to protect from copyright infringement! any other industry would be forced to take preventative measures before anyone could be prosecuted. not with music and movies though! so why is that? seems more important to be able to jail someone, get a website blocked, get a family bankrupted? and all done with the best wishes of your own government! how fucking shitty is that??

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s correct – for music.

The recordable media tax applies to blank CDs only. Not even to blank DVDs. The amount was set up (at the time) to offset the revenue lost by private copying – of music only. The money collected is distributed (in theory) to the musicians.

And so yes, Canadians are specifically allowed private copying – of music only – among friends and family. But NOT with strangers via any file sharing service; that would be publishing, which is obviously still not allowed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Settlement-o-matic

… their notice and notice system doesn’t specify what the notices should say, leaving the door open to “settlement-o-matic” threats.

Does this mean ISPs in the US will now have to deal with free-form takedown notices from Canadian copyright holders, or will they still be able to demand that notices conform to the format prescribed by the DMCA? Conversely, will Canadian ISPs still need to handle DMCA takedown notices from US copyright holders, or will following the new “notice and notice” system be enough?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Not 'may', 'will'

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.”

There’s no ‘may’ about it, letters like that will be sent out, because there’s no reason not to, and the practice remains incredibly profitable.

If the ones writing the law were really looking for a balance, then there would be a standard letter set out, and the ones sending them would be the ones paying for the companies to distribute them. A penalty for false claims would be nice too, though that’s even less likely to be implemented.

As it stands, the copyright owners have all the benefits, and everyone else gets all the downsides, just like any other law covering this sort of thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t get why this is such a big deal – really all they’re doing is putting in writing what has been happening for years.

The token time I got a notice it wasn’t much more than ‘you were caught sharing *this title* now stop it’ (except in more official language of course). It was a pretty short e-mail with no fine threats or anything like that.

Sue ’em all hasn’t taken hold here due to them not being able to sue us for much. Plus downloading mp3s ‘for personal use’ is pretty much legal.

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