Canadian Downloaders To Start Getting Copyright Infringement Notices Jan. 1

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Nick David via Getty Images
Nick David via Getty Images

Canadians who partake in unauthorized downloading will have a new fear in the new year.

Well, sort of.

Starting Jan. 1, internet service providers (ISPs) will be required to notify their customers of any allegations of copyright infringement from copyright holders, according to the Leader Post.

Previously, ISPs had the choice of telling their customers that a major record label suspected they engaged in unauthorized downloading. Provisions within the federal government's Copyright Modernization Act, which will take effect starting January, make the notice system legally required.

Two ISPs in Saskatchewan, SaskTel and Access Communications, have confirmed that they will be abiding by this new law.

But while a major movie studio or record label will be able to find the IP address of the downloader, it won't have access to his or her name and address. The ISP will in turn act as an intermediary between, for example, people who want to continue profiting off of Justin Bieber's music, and a young, technologically proficient Canadian fan of his tunes.

“So essentially a copyright holder will provide Sasktel with notification that an IP address has illegally downloaded some material…and then Sasktel is required to notify the customer with that IP address,” Michelle Englot, SaskTel’s director of external communications, told Global News.

The two ISPs told the network that they can protect customers with this method, since copyright holders will not have access to a downloader's information.

“We need to notify the organization to let them know we forwarded it to them, but we will not be providing them the customer information,” said Carmela Haines, vice-president finance and administration with Access Communications.

Jennifer Kett, senior manager of media relations for Rogers, told the Huffington Post Canada in an email that Rogers forwards notices to cusomters as well.

"We take the privacy of our customers very seriously and would never disclose the personal identities of our customers unless required by a warrant or court order," she said.

Bell will also be complying with the act, a spokesperson told HuffPost in an email.

One company that was required to release customer information was independent ISP TekSavvy.

The company was asked by Hollywood production company Voltage Pictures, which produced the Hurt Locker, to identify the people behind 2,000 IP addresses which the company suspected of illegally downloading.

TekSavvy did not comply, but was eventually forced to after a federal court order. The company and Voltage Pictures are now in court debating the costs of releasing the information, according to the Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic.

TekSavvy is asking to be reimbursed for "reasonable legal costs, administrative costs and disbursements," and has submitted a bill "in the amount of $346,480.68." Voltage Pictures is opposed to the "outrageous" amount.

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