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TekSavvy movie downloading case adjourned to 2013

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A federal judge in Toronto has given internet provider TekSavvy more time to alert customers they may be drawn into a landmark copyright case over illegal downloading.

Judge John O’Keefe adjourned a motion on Monday by a California film studio that would force the Chatham, Ont., company to hand over customer information about people alleged to have illegally downloaded movies.

Voltage Pictures LLC is seeking the identities of people linked to about 2,000 IP addresses that it says were uncovered by a forensic software investigation, and involved the illegal copying and distributing of the studio’s works.

Tina Furlan, communications director for TekSavvy, confirmed to CBC News that the case has been adjourned until Jan. 14.

Furlan said the judge decided to delay the case due to two factors:

- TekSavvy had been trying to alert customers associated with those IP addresses, and due to the short turnaround time – the company had been given a week to prepare for the case – 42 clients not involved in the case were accidentally informed, while about 90 connected to the downloading case have not been informed.

- The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) argued that it did not have time to officially apply for intervener status in the case.

“We’re very happy the court has decided to delay the case,” said Furlan on Tuesday. “It was something we wanted for our customers so they can have the time to prepare to take action against the allegations.”

The case marks a significant move in the arena of illegal downloading – coming just weeks after the Copyright Modernization Act came into effect in Canada. The act dramatically altered the landscape of Canadian copyright law.

TekSavvy said in a statement that it has a responsibility to protect customer information and ensure customer privacy. But it also said it would comply with any court order to hand over customer information..

Voltage took legal action last year against tens of thousands of U.S. web users. The studio alleged they illegally downloaded the company's Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker.

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