Do you love to watch movies on the internet? The final provision of the Copyright Infringement Act took effect on January 1, 2015, and it changes the game for anyone downloading or streaming unauthorized content while on the web. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself:
1) Your identity is still protected.
When an internet service provider, or ISP, receives a notice from a copyright holder that someone is using the ISP to download protected content, the ISP is required to forward that notice to the customer in question. This has been the case for some time. Now, however, ISPs must keep a log of such notifications for at least 6 months in order to shield themselves from liability.
The important thing to remember is that the copyright holders do not know the customer's identity. All they know is that their protected content was streamed or downloaded via that ISP. Unless there is a lawsuit against the customer, their identity will be protected in nearly every case.
But remember, your ISP knows who you are. If you don't comply with warning notices, or if a copyright holder decides to pursue a case against you, your ISP will eventually have to reveal your identity.
2) Copyright holders are already abusing the new law.
Notices have been sent warning customers that they may be liable for up to $150,000 for illegally downloading content, as well as threatening them with internet disconnection.
If you receive a notice such as this, know that this sort of bullying is not legal or factual. According to Canadian law, the most an individual can be fined for illegal downloading is $5,000, while the fines are as high as $20,000 if you use any illegally downloaded content for commercial gain.
Realizing the potential for abuse, many ISPs are adding additional information to such threats, and even removing some of the harsher language when forwarding notices to their customers. There are calls for additional regulations to avoid more problems with such notifications.
3) You may be safer if you only stream.
If you aren't downloading content, but merely streaming a temporary file, you may not be doing anything wrong. It can be argued that such viewing of content does not qualify as actually making permanent downloaded copies of protected material.
You can expect more court cases to clarify that legal question in the months to come.
If you receive one of the copyright infringement notices, pay attention to your internet habits. Realize that your activity is being monitored, even if the people monitoring your activity have no idea who you are.
Consult an attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities before you're threatened with any further legal action. Chances are, most illegal downloaders won't be pursued individually, but there may be cases where many ISP customers will be sued all at once.
Be sure to have adequate counsel if you find yourself in any legal battles over your internet activities. For more information, contact a company like Rella, Paolini & Rogers.Share