Canada Braces for Massive BitTorrent Crackdown

Canada Braces for Massive BitTorrent Crackdown

Anti-piracy company says it has collected over 1 million Canadian IP addresses it alleges have illegally downloaded copyrighted material on BitTorrent tracker sites over the past 5 months, and thanks to a recent court ruling, has plans to begin targeting a number of them in the near future.
Things are looking a little scary for Canadian BitTorrent users with news that an anti-piracy company has plans for a massive crackdown on illegal downloading in that country.

Over the past 5 months Canipre has apparently collected the IP addresses of over 1 million individuals suspected of online copyright infringement, and thanks to a recent favorable court ruling, it has plans to go after them in the near future.

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

The recent court decision paving the way for this massive crackdown was made last week in a Federal Court in Montreal. In that case several ISPs were ordered to hand over the names and addresses of 50 subscribers accused of illegally downloading the NGN Prima Production’s movie Recoil (you know, the “blockbuster hit” starring Steve Austin? No? Then watch the trailer below).

From the ruling:

NGN Prima Productions Inc. is authorized to conduct an examination for discovery in writing of 3 Web Corp., Access Communications Co-Operative Limited, ACN Inc., and Distributel Communications Ltd., to obtain the names and addresses associated with those companies’ client accounts that used the IP addresses at the dates and times identified at Exhibit “A” to the affidavit of Barry Logan, sworn November 14, 2012.

The court gave the ISPs two weeks to comply with the discovery order.

Emboldened by the ruling, Canipre claims to have a “significant evidence collection program that has been in place in Canada for a number of months,” and presumably plans to begin asking ISPs for similar identifying information on on BitTorrent users suspected of infringing its clients’ copyrighted material.

Logan adds that he his company is only “looking for repeat or habitual illegal downloaders,” and likely won’t limit the scope of lawsuits to “just teenagers downloading Justin Bieber’s last record.” His company represents a “lot of mature titles” catering to the adult crowd, ensuring a wide spectrum of ages wil be represented in ts anti-piracy efforts.

The good news in all of this, however is that unlike in the US where statutory damages can reach up to $150,000 per infringement, statutory damages in Canada are capped at $5,000 per non-commercial infringement .

In any event, the game of whac-a-mole continues, for even if Canipre somehow manage to target all one million IP addresses on its list, the effort is just as unlikely to significantly effect online copyright infringement as it is to boost profits for is clients. In fact, recent research suggests decreased file-sharing might actually harm their profits.

In the meantime, if you are a BitTorrent user living in Canada, and you haven’t already, it might be a good time to invest in a decent VPN or at least use one of the quality free ones out there.