Canadian BitTorrent Users Targeted for the First Time by Canadian Studio

On November 20, 2012 by

Yesterday morning, the Federal Court in Montreal  ordered the disclosure of the names and addresses of approximately 50 individuals who alleged illegally copied and distributed copyrighted materials belonging to Canadian Film Producer, NGN Prima Productions.

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Related: Voltage to Ask TekSavvy to Release Names of 2,300 BitTorrent Users, Dec 10/12

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This is the first time a Canadian studio has sought damages in a Canadian court against Canadian BitTorrent users.

View … Court Order, NGN vs Does

As written, the order will compel Canadian ISPs to release identifying information for the customers  associated with the infringing IP addresses.

Gathered between September 01 and October 31 using forensic software,  the IP addresses were identified as illegally sharing the movie RECOIL using the BitTorrent Protocol, a means of file sharing that`s experienced explosive growth (40% ) in the previous year.

While this is the first time a Canadian Studio has targeted Canadian bitTorrent users, precedent was set last September in Montreal by Voltage Pictures LLC who secured an order that three ISPs release the identities of individuals alleged to have illegally shared copies of “the Hurtlocker” via the BitTorrent protocol. At the time the presiding judge, Justice Shore, quoted the BMG Canada Inc. decision. v. John Doe, 2005  which confirmed:

[...] in cases where applicants demonstrate the legitimacy of their claim that unknown persons violate their copyright, they have the right that the identity of these people is revealed them to be able to sue [...]

This precedent coupled with the Voltage Pictures order in 2011 and again yesterday gives fair indication that Canadian bitTorrent users are every bit as susceptible to lawsuits for illegal file sharing as are their American neighbours. The fact that we haven’t seen illegal downloading as aggressively litigated in Canada should be cold comfort as the appetite for it from rights holders seems to be growing.

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In an addendum, Copyright Enforcement Canada we should report that NGN has also filed in Boston and Florida.  Further details and related documents here.

13 Responses to “Canadian BitTorrent Users Targeted for the First Time by Canadian Studio”

  • NGN Prima Productions have obviously taken a step forward to begin their rights enforcement campaign. This will be a very interesting follow.

    • It seems like they came over the border.
      Multijuridictional enforcement – not sure whether this is the right approach – suing the fanbase?

      http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/copyright-lawsuits/massachusetts-district-court/109303/ngn-prima-productions-inc-v-swarm-sharing-hash-file-75eb76485fab94e5d83ed0e7edfaf02a6013bd46-et-al/summary/

      Voltage had a similar program which was silly in 2011..

      • How could you refer to it as suing a fanbase when the rights holder is the one being stolen from? A fanbase would go to the theatre or purchase the film from a legitimate outlet such as VOD, legal streaming provider, DVD seller, PPV, etc. So we cannot say they are suing a fanbase as it is unlikely the downloader has paid monies to the distributor, retailer or licensee to legally access or acquire the film property.

        • Except when those “legitimate outlets” are prohibitive, intrusive or otherwise beyond the stretch of inconvenience that the viewer wants to go through WHEN they actually have the content.

          Most legitimate streaming providers aren’t even given these products to distribute until after the rest of the cycle has been bled dry.

          Attacking the fanbase rather than attacking the source of the problem is what IS happening here.

          • Hi Harold .. So it is safe to say that it would be okay to ‘borrow’ say, a certain vehicle from a car dealership’s parking lot because I cannot afford it, drive it away after hours? There is a little more at play than just the lost studio dollars. The overall economic impact on the Canadian economy is far greater than just the cost of a lost DVD sale or theatre ticket.

            Rights holders are quite properly embracing next generation content delivery platforms but piracy remains an extreme problem for all stake-holders. I believe the Canadian legal system and our federal laws provide a degree of protection for rights holders (and always have) and rights holders are very actively taking a ZERO tolerance policy for IP theft.

            And most rightfully so.

          • @Robin:

            False analogy – you’re comparing a zero-sum game to an infinite sum game. Here’s a better analogy:

            I can’t afford to buy a car. The local dealership has an infinite supply of duplicate cars, of which only the original was paid for. I decide to borrow one.

            Or…

            Mom has an infinite supply of never-ending dough. I take a bit.

            False premise = false conclusion.


            PIRACY IS NOT A PROBLEM.

            Overpriced content, draconian DRM, stupid laws and lousy economics combine to make file-sharing the only decent alternative. When ripping a DVD you own to play it on your iPad is a crime (and tools to do so are illegal), it makes more sense to “pirate” the disk than to “buy” it.

            *cough cough*

            I can’t help but read “IP” as “Imaginary Property”. It is IMAGINARY PROPERTY – nobody can own an idea, and nobody can “steal” an idea. It is not a zero sum game – if I downloaded a game, the store would not have one less game to sell. If I sign Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land”, it doesn’t prevent him from doing so…

            I know shouting won’t drive it into your head, but I’m going to do it anyways:

            IDEAS ARE NOT PROPERTY! IP IS NOT PROPERTY! DOWNLOADING IS NOT STEALING! COPYING IS NOT STEALING!

  • What they will get are the names of the subscribers, those that pay for the Internet connection. This is of course not necessarily the same person that allegedly downloaded this movie.

    What we need to be careful for is that we don’t get systems like “you’re guilty until you prove who actually did it”.

  • I mean this might be a serious problem for the industry but Herold is right – no legal alternatives available?

    Stupid!!

  • @Jungle Dave ..I sort of believe we are talking abvout 2 distinct issues. I’m happy to debate when i have the time but i dont ‘get loud’ with who i engage! File sharing by the way, is quite clearly contributory to the piracy issues that affect ALL digital industries. And each one of the ‘imaginery property’ owners you refer to have the legislated right to enforce and recover losses resulting from the ‘theft’ of their property.

    http://copyrightenforcement.ca/canadian-software-firm-sues-200-downloaders-in-missouri/

    Go back to 2002 ..the Radiocommunications Act. The so called grey market here in satellite signal theft was very clearly a black market, nothing grey about that at all – and Bell, Nagra, DirecTV all enforced vigorously in Canada and USA. So i am not sure where I am losing you here, but I have as we are talking about 2 different issues.

    • No Robin, you just don’t understand the concept Jungle Dave tried to explain to you.

      Copying, or duplicating something with infinite supply is NOT the same as stealing a physical item with finite supply. It’s not the same at all.

      The “loss” you mention is imaginary. You are making multiple leaps in logic to reach the conclusion that duplicating something = loss of profit. It doesn’t. This has been demonstrated time and time again.

      Quote whatever legal pretense or laws you want. The logic is still faulty, and eventually, the issue will be resolved once and for all by the people forcing these greedy media companies to innovate and provide the people what they want.

      They are not interested in providing what people want right now. This is clearly seen whenever they stop innovation, or withhold rights to convenient content distribution platforms like Netflix.
      But eventually, they won’t have any other choice. Adapt and provide what we want, or die. Open your eyes and see how things are changing and get on the boat or you’ll be left at the shore forever watching your money shrivel up.

      People will happily pay for content that is convenient. At the moment, that means streaming high quality releases for a reasonable price no later than it releases on a physical medium.
      If Netflix got most releases right away, and not months or years after, I would be happy if they increased price from $10/month to $60+. I don’t think I’m in the minority.

      They’ll never stop computer enthusiasts. Try and sue me. They’ll never prove the bits of data are stored on my premises. They’ll never prove it was even me sitting behind my IP. If they try, I’ll adapt and get a seedbox overseas and VPN in to get what I want. And if they succeed, I might even build a service for less savvy people to do this easily to recoup the $5K fine.

      So they can pay their millions for consultants, forensics and lawyers. In the end, it won’t get them anywhere and technology will just pass you by and spark more innovation in new ways of being undetectable.

    • Robin, before we go any further, why don’t you identify yourself and who you work for. This wouldn’t have any slant on your non-bias responses and positions on here, would it?

  • So I guess it’s also illegal to take out a DVD from the library. Or a book for that matter.

  • So I am confused here. Are these lawsuits concerning simple “joe blow” individuals who download the available content to watch and keep at home for their own use, or are they targeting the people who distribute the content for other people to use? Example, I have a collection of downloaded content gathered over the years off of various torrent sites that are strictly for my own use in my home. I have not seeded or shared these files with anyone. I thought the law currently read that having content for your own use as long as you are not distributing was legal? Do we know at this time which ISP’s are being ordered to provide the names?