More Copyright Trolls Rushing In To Take Advantage Of Canadian Copyright Notice System Loopholes

from the no-longer-relegated-to-underbridge-housing dept

Canada’s new copyright notice system is swiftly become a playground for copyright trolls. As Michael Geist reports, Canadian legislators could have baked in a few limitations to curb abuse, but chose instead to ensure the Rightscorps of the world could twist the legislation to their advantage.

Despite more than a year of work on potential regulations – including possible costs to rights holders for sending notifications – Industry Minister James Moore abandoned the process, implementing the system with no costs, no limitations on notice content, no restrictions on settlement demands, and no sanctions for the inclusion of false or misleading information. The government’s backgrounder says that the law “sets clear rules on the content of these notices”, however, it does not restrict the ability for rights holders to include information that goes beyond the statutory minimum.

Righstcorp is called out for a reason. It was the first to seize this opportunity to shake down Canadian internet users with pre-settlement offers. To make its requests appear more “reasonable,” Rightscorp lied in its letters to alleged infringers.

The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns that the user’s Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no such provision under Canadian law.

Beyond that, Rightscorp has no intention of litigating these cases — which would be the only way for it to secure statutory damages. Even in the US, where the sky-high $150,000 applies, Rightscorp has yet to actually sue anyone for copyright infringement. It instead hopes to nickel-and-dime its way to the top of the troll heap with $20/per infringement “settlements.”

Now another copyright troll is invading the same territory. CEG TEK (Copyright Enforcement Group… um… TEK) has started sending out reams of useless and misleading paper threatening alleged infringers in Canada, citing the new law in order to appear really, really serious about possibly doing something expensive to those on the receiving end.

At least this letter acknowledges the $5,000 cap on infringement awards, but it only uses that higher number to make its demands in the low-hundreds per infringement more palatable. The rest of it is standard demand letter histrionics.

In Canada, the unauthorized copying, performance, and/or distribution of Rights Owner’s Work is illegal and is subject to civil sanctions (with statutory damages of up to $5,000 or non-statutory damages that could be higher) and/or criminal sanctions, and is a violation of the Canada Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42). The recent amendments to the Copyright Act, which came into force on November 2012, have confirmed Rights Owner’s right to have its copyright protected in Canada.

[…]

If you have questions about your legal rights, you should consult with your own legal counsel (i.e., barrister, solicitor, lawyer, and/or attorney).

CEG HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED BY RIGHTS OWNER TO OFFER A SETTLEMENT SOLUTION TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER AND PREVENT LEGAL ACTION.

You have until Saturday, March 28, 2015 to access the settlement offer and settle online.

Of course, the letter makes it appear as though CEG can actually offer a complete release from legal culpability for only $xxx, and the artful use of ALL CAPS around “SETTLEMENT SOLUTION” and “LEGAL ACTION” could give some recipient the sense that something dangerous lurks behind this mass-mailed “threat.” But CEG, like Rightscorp, can’t make much money with “LEGAL ACTION.” Nope, it’s all about “SETTLEMENT SOLUTIONS.” Serve to thousands. Collect from tens. Call it a day.

There’s no lawsuit coming. A search for CEG in the Justia database returns a single lawsuit — and in that one, CEG was the defendant. Perhaps that’s why the letter stays suitably vague about the consequences of ignoring these missives. At this point. CEG TEK’s business model only allows for repeated sending of demand letters and, if needed, more use of the Caps Lock key.

Still, the shakedowns will have an effect, mostly on the wholly ignorant or easily intimidated — which makes copyright trolling indistinguishable from any number of scams. The victims are those who don’t know any better. And Canada’s decision to enact a copyright notice system filled with holes only encourages entities like CEG and Rightscorp to expand their “markets.”

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Comments on “More Copyright Trolls Rushing In To Take Advantage Of Canadian Copyright Notice System Loopholes”

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26 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Or in the alternative, perhaps punish those who are abusing the legal process and work in reforming copyright so that there is no longer actually an incentive to make a bulk of your income via “speculative invoicing”?

Sometimes the best solution is the one that is the hardest to work towards, but copyright trolls (no matter the form) should be a huge red flag that the law in its current form is broken and the innocent & the guilty (I never said everyone was an angel) are being harassed in these schemes while the law turns a blind eye to creating the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m starting to think we need to start treating IP lawyers, corporations, lobbyists, and the politicians that work for them the way a sensible business should treat shoplifting & minor theft: consider them minor nuisance losses, and work around them.

Honestly, the best ROI strategy at this point may be to build a global mesh network (and mesh society), and spray down the parasites with disinfectant when they try to creep in. Building a new world is simply an easier, more attractive task than dealing with the vermin.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I used to be in favor of a limited copyright law that would actually benefit creatives but I reached the end of my rope in an earlier post. It’s time to kill copyright altogether, unless someone can provide me with a compelling reason to keep it in some way, shape or form.

I said “compelling,” not “pro-copyright propaganda, hyperbole, and lies.”

It is NOT property and other remuneration solutions exist.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I used to be in favor of a limited copyright law that would actually benefit creatives but I reached the end of my rope in an earlier post. It’s time to kill copyright altogether, unless someone can provide me with a compelling reason to keep it in some way, shape or form.

I said “compelling,” not “pro-copyright propaganda, hyperbole, and lies.”

It is NOT property and other remuneration solutions exist.

GEMont (profile) says:

Graduation Day

Well wuddya know.

Another Canajun Poly Tishun has discovered that you can get cash from a troll without even crossing the bridge.

Congratulations to Industry Minister James Moore.

You’ve entered the Big Boys Game Area.

You’re an American Politico now. Cash for favors is so much better than plain old theft eh.

Enjoy the yacht. Did they get you a nice bimbo?

Would you like that line’o’coke refreshed?

Sergio Castro says:

CEG TEK

I received several notices of copyright infringement from CEG TEK they seem legit so I felt that if I did wrong I should try to should make it right, so I tried calling their ph # top make arrangements to settle as their letter offers but it apparently is not working.
Am I safe by forgetting about this notices? ..I do not want to be taken to court and become an example ..if not for nothing else is because I can’t afford anything .. a pension cheque does not go very far
Appreciate any feedback about this

another guy says:

ceg

I wish someone with knowledge about this business of copyrights some advice on what to do I guess there are a lot of ignorant fools like me who know nothing about it and answer their notices I ‘ve tried to do the right thing and I’ve tried to call the # on the page to talk to someone and I was told “no longer in service” so I sent a Message to them in doing so I may have done more damage to myself because now they must have my info… I f anybody knows what to do please post a reply there is a lot of anxious fools like me since Canada opened its doors to this copyright trollers

Shookup says:

I paid settlement

I got a letter yesterday and it shook me so much that I ended up just paying the settlement. In hindsight I wish I had done more research and that research would have led me to decide on not paying. So… I will use CyberGhost all the time now and never pay any settlement if I get any more notices.

Mine was from Shaw Cable, c/o CEG TEK International on behalf of Copyright Owner: SBO Pictures DBA Wicked Pictures for the video of Spin Class Ass 2 which I obtained via BitTorrent.

Maximum Venture (user link) says:

Canipre data being used to spread bad Canadian law

In Canada, companies like CEG-TEK and Canipre are using the the ISPs (TekSavvy is one that’s made it public) under the notice-and-notice part of Bill C-60 that been in force since 2015. The problem is the notices can pretty much say what they want, though the actual bill puts limits on what damages can amount to. Down south some states are using Canipre data to push for similar laws.

http://www.maximumventure.ca/article/are-online-copyright-infringement-laws-affecting-canadians-one-year-laterquestion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Act_to_amend_the_Copyright_Act_(38th_Canadian_Parliament,_1st_Session)

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