After a period of calm waters, Canada is back in the business of suing Canadian file-sharers.
A major lawsuit involving BMG Canada Inc. and several other music companies was filed back in 2004 against some anonymous Canadian file-sharers, with the industry asking from internet providers to disclose the names and addresses of the suspected pirates. We mention this case because it was a milestone for other copyright lawsuits that followed, by establishing a sort of pattern when speaking of the frivolous balance between privacy and intellectual property rights. BMG’s request was denied.
Starting with 2011, similar cases emerged, two of them being of great importance. This behavior could be explained by United States’ affinity for such lawsuits, where dozens of anonymous downloaders are brought to justice. When or better said if internet providers are willing to cooperate, the defendants are forced to either settle for hundreds or thousands of dollars or face criminal justice. The effectiveness of these methods of “extortion” is still a matter of debate in certain circles, but what’s clear is that the Canadian legal system has caught up to these methods and is willing to apply them just the same.
Back to the beginning: although BMG appealed the decision of the court to not force internet providers disclose personal information about their customers, the Federal Court denied the appeal as well. Its decision came as a result that the company failed to provide with hard evidence of the infringement. The court also pointed to the fact that BMG failed to prove the necessity of involving internet providers (the court refers to the fact that information about infringers could have been obtained from KaZaA or iMesh).
A similar case reported by our website started in 2011, with Voltage Pictures LLC suing no less than 34 alleged infringers. The studio filed a motion in which it requested the names and addresses of the defendants. The motion was apparently granted, with the Federal Court saying that pirates should not hide behind IP addresses.
By the end of 2012, NGN Prima Production Inc. also sued several anonymous infringers. The company asked the court to force internet providers release their customers’ names and addresses, and by Nov. 19 2012 the motion was granted.
Sadly, it appears that this method of dealing with copyright infringers is slowly but surely becoming the easy way of giving right holders what they want, regardless of privacy concerns and ethics.