Canada Readies Its Weapons Against Movie Pirates

Although Canada had been criticized for its inability to come up with better anti-piracy laws (read more here), the country is now ready to take on movie pirates. Let’s see how they plan to do that.

Now, if you’re a Canadian that enjoys downloading pirated movies, you may think twice before doing so. Why? Because Big Brother could be watching.

A software company has been appointed to collect data on Canadians who, as they claim, downloaded pirated content. The company, representing both the movie and music industries, claims that forcing ISPs (through court order) to offer personal details about their subscribers is just the first step.

“The door is closing. People should think twice about downloading content they know isn’t proper,” said Barry Logan – Canipre’s managing director.

A lawsuit against 50 IP addresses is already on the court’s table, but this is just the beginning. According to Logan, the company is ready to open a new case, this time against thousands of Canadians suspected of copyright infringement.

Even more frightening is that the software company managed to gather data on one million Canadians (in just five months), all of which are targeted as movie pirates. Backed up by court orders, Logan warns that these illegal downloads must stop or Canadians will end up paying damages of up to $5000 and face criminal charges on counts of copyright infringement.

The case involving the 50 IP addresses was filed on behalf of a Burnaby movie production company. Last week, the company managed to obtain subpoenas, forcing several internet providers to cough up the names and addresses of their subscribers.

“Canada is a very significant country in terms of peer-to-peer file sharing and illegal downloading of copyright works,” Logan said.

“We have quite a significant evidence collection program that has been in place in Canada for a number of months, it doesn’t discriminate between ISPs.”

Internet providers are still to decide if they’re going to cooperate or not.

Mira Sundara Rajan – formerly the Canada Research chair in intellectual property law at the University of B.C. – said that Canada’s movie industry is considering United States’ six-strike system.

“I think the end game actually is to try and make a dent in the downloading activity,” said Sundara Rajan.

“What we are doing is following in the footsteps of an American approach here which has been to try to target individual users and set them as examples of what can go wrong if your illegal downloading activity is discovered.”

“I think that it is much more than an issue of trying to get fines in place. I think it is a question of creating an idea of deterrence in the mind of the public.”

Meanwhile, Canipre is continuing to hunt down repeat offenders.

“I don’t think we have to limit this to just teenagers downloading Justin Bieber’s last record,” Logan said.

“We represent a lot of mature titles that would be of interest to the 30/40/50 crowd.”