Canada Still Sues Canadian File-SharersNine years ago Canada saw its first major lawsuit filed by BMG Canada Inc. and a number of other music labels against some Canadian file-sharers. The entertainment industry asked the ISPs to reveal the names and addresses of the suspected infringers. This case became a milestone for other copyright lawsuits which were filed afterwards and set the frivolous balance between privacy and copyright. BMG’s request was denied.
Since 2011, a number of similar cases emerged, and a couple of them were of great importance. Such behaviour could be explained by the affinity of the US for such cases, where a bunch of anonymous file-sharers are brought to justice. In case ISPs want to cooperate, the alleged infringers are forced to either settle for a certain amount or go to trial. Although the effectiveness of such approach has been debated in certain circles, the Canadian legal system seems to catch up to these methods and is ready to apply them.
Talking about the BMG case, despite the fact that BMG appealed the court decision not to force ISPs to reveal personal details about their subscribers, the Federal Court denied its appeal. This ruling resulted from the company’s failed attempts to provide with hard evidence of the violation. In addition, the court pointed to the fact that BMG couldn’t prove the necessity of involving ISPs, because details of the alleged infringers could have been obtained from iMesh or KaZaA.
Another similar case started a couple years ago, with Voltage Pictures LLC suing at least 34 alleged file-sharers. The company filed a motion where it requested the names and addresses of the defendants. In result, the motion was granted, because the Federal Court claimed that pirates shouldn’t hide behind IP addresses.
Late last year, NGN Prima Production Inc. also filed a lawsuit against a number of anonymous copyright infringers. The studio asked the court to force ISPs to release their subscribers’ names and addresses, and by the end of the year the motion was granted.
As you can see, it turned out that this method of dealing with copyright violators is slowly but surely becoming the easiest and most effective way of giving copyright owners what they want, regardless of privacy concerns and ethics. Not so good for the Canadians, though.