Voltage Pictures Thinks Canada's New Copyright Law Opens The Door For More Trolling
from the oh-canada dept
And, now, it appears, they've decided to try the same scheme up north. We had just noted that with Canada's new copyright law in place, it appeared that the copyright trolls were getting ready to pounce -- and that's now been confirmed. ISP TekSavvy initially released a blog post noting that Voltage Pictures was demanding a ton of information on many of its users. So far, the company is resisting, while notifying its users. It also noted that Voltage's strategy here is an odd one:
We are frankly puzzled by the approach that Voltage has taken. It seems contrary to the government’s intent with copyright reform, which was to discourage file sharing lawsuits against individuals, while still protecting copyright holders’ rights. The manner and the timing of this action also seems unusual given that the government recently created a roadmap for addressing file sharing and copyright infringement within its legislation. Its starting point is a notification system to subscribers to discourage infringement without immediate threats of lawsuits or disclosure of their personal information. That system is not yet finalized though. In light of these factors, Voltage’s actions seem odd to us.The move by Voltage has a number of people confused. One of the really good features of Canada's new copyright laws is a cap on how much someone would have to pay at $5,000. That takes away a troll's ability to demand huge sums, while also limiting its ability to wave a big stick about them being liable for $150,000 in possible statutory awards (as they do in the US). Besides, as Teksavvy notes, the Canadian government was already worried about trolling when it passed the new law.
It appears to us that a notice period is essential, especially in cases where large privacy disclosures may be involved. Without this notice, a customer could be the subject of a lawsuit and not even know about it. Surely this is in part why the government is seeking to enact such notice provisions in the policy.
At this point there are many unanswered questions. How does Voltage intend to proceed? How will the courts rule if customers should retain legal counsel? Under what conditions might the court order the disclosure of customer information? If Voltage is successful, how many more notices will Canadian ISPs receive? Is there a limit to what the court will allow?
In the end, it's unclear if Voltage is so wedded to the idea of copyright trolling that it simply doesn't understand what's going on in Canada. Either way, it makes one thing clear: I will now go out of my way to never watch a movie from Voltage. Who would support a company that sues its fans?