A Canadian copyright enforcement group has collected data on one million people who allegedly participated in illegal file-sharing, potentially exposing those people to U.S.-style lawsuits from copyright holders.
According to a report at Postmedia news, Canadian Intellectual Property Enforcement (Canipre), which works for the movie and music industries, collected the IP addresses of one million Canadian computers over the past five months it says were involved in copyright-infringing file-sharing.
Previous efforts at suing Canadian file-sharers have met with mixed results for copyright holders, but a ruling by a federal court in Montreal last week has opened the door to mass file-sharing lawsuits in Canada, said Canipre managing director Barry Logan, as quoted by Torrentfreak.
The lawsuit pitted a Vancouver-based film company, NGN Prima Productions, against four small Internet service providers whose customers allegedly downloaded NGN’s film “Recoil.” A judge last week ordered the ISPs to hand over data on 50 customers alleged to have downloaded the film.
“The door is closing. People should think twice about downloading content they know isn’t proper,” Logan told Postmedia news.
Logan hinted that copyright holders in Canada would follow the same path as they do in the U.S. -- sending warnings to alleged file-sharers, asking them to pay a settlement before taking them to court. Critics of the practice call this “copyright trolling.”
Trolling has been tried before in Canada. Last year, Voltage Pictures launched legal action against Canadian file-sharers of its movie "The Hurt Locker." Court records show that the company abandoned its lawsuit. It remains unclear why.
A recent study found Canadians are fourth in the world for illegal downloads of music, behind only the U.S., Britain and Italy. On a per capita basis, though, it’s likely Canadians download more than any of those countries.