Posts tagged ‘canada’

TorrentFreak: Oscar Nominations Massively Boosted Pirate Downloads

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

While Hollywood would’ve liked it to remain a secret, news that the majority of Oscar contenders were available online just a day after the Academy’s announcement traveled fast.

In anticipation of this eventuality, at the turn of the year piracy monitoring firm Irdeto began tracking dozens of top movies in order to compare the number of downloads before and after the Oscar nominations were made public. Some of the numbers just revealed by the company are eye-watering.

After monitoring from January 1 through February 14, Irdeto found that there was a 385% increase in piracy of nominated films following the Academy’s announcement on January 15.

“While Gone Girl was the early frontrunner after nominations, American Sniper took the lead and is currently the most pirated film in the world post-nomination,” Irdeto reveals.

As the chart below shows, the majority of nominees had download numbers boosted between 161% and 230%, but clearly out in front is Selma with a 1033% uplift.

post-nom

In terms of pure downloads, however, the Martin Luther King movie isn’t an Oscar high-flyer. Despite the huge boost in interest after nomination day, Selma sits in 10th place well behind piracy leaders American Sniper and Gone Girl.

oscar-downs

Of course, the big question now is whether popularity on BitTorrent networks will be mirrored in the final Oscars ceremony. Ranking movies based on downloads since January 15 in the categories they were nominated, Irdeto predicts the winners as follows:

Best Picture: American Sniper (1.39m)

Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper (1.39m)

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman (796.7K)

Best Actress: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl (1.25m)

Hollywood’s own leaks contributed to the piracy problem

While the Oscar-nominated movies now available online come from a wide variety of sources including Blu-ray, DVD (34% combined) and Cams (11%), Irdeto’s study highlights the problems the Academy has with its own leaks. Handed out to voters, critics and others in the industry, screeners are the most prized source for online booty. And this year there were plenty of them.

“Hollywood screeners specifically accounted for a substantial 31% of the total illegal downloads tracked between January 15 and February 14,” Irdeto reveals.

“Six nominated movies currently unavailable for retail purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD or legal streaming/download sites saw the majority of piracy coming directly from these screeners: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Wild, Selma, Whiplash and Still Alice.”

While noting that not every download is a lost sale, the anti-piracy company still believes that an estimated $40m could have been lost on these titles alone, simply because they weren’t made available legally to consumers.

Release windows

“Our data clearly shows that the rest of the world is paying attention to the Academy Awards and there is significant demand for new movies to be available earlier, in more geographies and over more platforms,” says Rory O’Connor, VP of Managed Services at Irdeto.

“In the world of internet re-distribution, the window between theatrical release and worldwide market availability may simply be too long, leaving room for pirates to take advantage and offer consumers alternative means of instant gratification. Today’s consumers simply refuse to wait to access these movies through legitimate services.”

The rest of the world

Finally, outside of the United States the top ten countries accounting for the most illegal downloads were Russia, Italy, UK, Brazil, Canada, India, Australia, Spain, South Korea and the Netherlands.

And in what is bound to be yet more ammunition for the copyright lobby Down Under, the Oscar for the country with the highest percentage of piracy per Internet user population goes to….

…….Australia.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Voltage Pics: Suing Disabled Kids For Piracy is Bad PR

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Movie company Voltage Pictures has built quite a reputation in the past couple of years for its approach to those said to have downloaded and shared The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club without permission.

Rather than take the soft approach, the company has sued thousands of individuals across the United States and has also tested the waters in Canada, Europe and Australia.

Litigation in the latter region is reaching a critical point, with Voltage affiliate Dallas Buyers Club LLC (DBCLLC) attempting to force several local ISPs (iiNet, Wideband Networks, Internode, Dodo Services, Amnet Broadband and Adam Internet) to hand over the identities of individuals said to have downloaded the movie of the same name.

The ISPs have been putting up a fight in Sydney’s Federal Court this week in order to protect their customers and thus far DBCLLC and their piracy tracking partners have been given a rocky ride.

Flown in from Germany especially for the hearing, Daniel Macek of BitTorrent monitoring outfit Maverick Eye was given a particularly hard time. On Monday under cross-examination by iiNet barrister Richard Lancaster, SC, the 30-year-old admitted that he did not prepare his own affidavit.

“It was provided [by Dallas Buyers Club],” Mr Macek said.

Since Macek was appearing as an expert witness, the revelation was pounced upon by Lancaster.

“You provide affidavits and statements in lots of litigations all around the world,” Mr Lancaster said. “Is it your practice just to sign what is put in front of you?”

“No,” Macek replied.

During yesterday’s hearing things only appeared to get worse for Macek, as both his expertise and Maverick Eye’s evidence was called into question. The company provided “.pcap” files to the Court which contained timestamps of alleged infringements but when questioned about their contents, Macek fell short.

“Are you familiar with the information in the .pcap files themselves?” Lancaster asked Macek.

“Not in detail,” Macek admitted.

Lancaster’s questioning was aimed at casting doubt on the timings of alleged infringements logged in the Maverick Eye system. Were the times logged in the .pcap files representative of when a file was uploaded by an infringer’s computer to Maverick Eye’s system, or of a later point when further processing had occurred?

“I don’t understand this .pcap [file] in this detail,” Macek said. “I know how the Maverick software works in general but I’m not aware of the .pcap [files],” he added.

The Judge agreed with Lancaster on the importance of his questioning.

“If the IP [address] switched midway through one of these transmissions it just occurs to me that change would have some impact on your cross-examination,” Justice Perram said.

Also appearing this week was Vice-president of royalties for Voltage Pictures, Michael Wickstrom. The Voltage executive said that piracy was eating away at his company’s profits and had become far too easy. Lawsuits helped raise awareness of the problem, he said.

Under cross-examination Wednesday, Wickstrom denied that the letters sent out to customers in the United States were “threatening”, noting instead that they are a statement of facts.

“There are facts stated [in the letter] that [the customer’s] IP address was identified [as having downloaded the film illicitly],” he said.

“Any settlement amount that is disclosed [in the letter]; that was the attorney’s decision and is done on a case by case basis.”

However, while the company has no real idea of the nature of the people they’re targeting, Wickstrom said his company had limits on who would be pursued for cash demands. According to SMH, the executive said that his company “would not pursue an autistic child, people who were handicapped, welfare cases, or people that have mental issues.”

Some compassion from Voltage perhaps? Not exactly – the company seems more interested in how that would look on the PR front.

“That kind of press would ruin us,” Wickstrom said, adding that “the majority” of piracy was in fact occurring at the hands of vulnerable groups.

If that’s truly the case and any “vulnerable” people inform the company of their circumstances, Voltage stands to make very little money from their Australian venture, despite all the expense incurred in legal action thus far. Strangely, they don’t seem to mind.

“This is truly not about the money here, it’s about stopping illegal piracy,” Wickstrom said.

The case continues next week.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: “Canada Remains A Safe Haven For Online Piracy”

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

canada-pirateThe International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has just published its latest submission to the U.S. Government, providing an overview of countries it believes should better protect the interests of the copyright industry.

The IIPA, which includes a wide range of copyright groups including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA and ESA, has listed its complaints against a whole host of countries. As in previous years, Canada was discussed in detail with the recommendation to put it on the 2014 Special 301 ‘watch list’.

One of the main criticisms against Canada is that the country offers a home to many pirate sites. The country recently revised its copyright law but that has done little to address this problem, IIPA believes.

“Although there has been some improvement in recent years, Canada still has far to go to rectify its reputation as a safe haven for Internet pirates. Indeed, a number of the world’s most popular Internet sources dedicated to online theft of copyright material retain connections to Canada.”

Among others, the report lists the popular torrent sites Torrentz.eu, Kickass.to and streaming portal Solarmovie.is as partially Canada-based.

Canada’s inaction against these websites has forced copyright holders to request website blockades in other countries, IIPA claims. In addition, these pirate sites hamper the growth of legal services.

“As long as these sites continue to use Canada as a base, efforts to provide a space within which legitimate, licensed services can take root and grow are undermined, not only in Canada, but around the world,” the report reads.

According to the report Canada’s current copyright law lacks the ability to motivate hosting providers to stop dealing with this sites. Instead, IIPA argues that the law gives these companies “overbroad safe harbors.”

“Clearly the legal incentives remain insufficient for Canadian providers of hosting services to cooperate with right holders to deal with massive and flagrant infringements carried out using their services,” they write.

Aside from hosting pirate sites, IIPA characterizes Canada as a pro-piracy country in general. Canadians download more than twice as much pirated music per capita, according the copyright group.

The “notice and notice” system that was implemented recently, where ISPs have to forward copyright infringement warnings to alleged pirates, is not expected to change much either they say.

“… while the Canadian “notice and notice” system requires service providers to retain records on the identity of subscribers whose accounts have been used for unauthorized file sharing or other infringing behaviors, multiple repeat infringers will be delivered the same notice.”

Ideally, IIPA would like to see a system where repeat infringers can be identified and punished if needed, similar to the “strikes” systems that have been implemented in other countries.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg for Canada. Among other things, the groups also call for stronger border protections and limiting the copyright exceptions for educational use.

The group ask the U.S. Government to “continue to press Canada” to address these and other issues that may hinder the growth of the copyright industry.

“[The U.S. Government] should encourage Canadian authorities to do what they can to give service providers greater incentives to come together with right holders to make meaningful progress against online copyright infringement; but further legislative change is likely to be needed.”

The IIPA’s full 2014 Special 301 recommendation report is available here. This also includes assessments from more than a dozen other countries, including Brazil, China, India, Russia and Switzerland.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

Schneier on Security: Canada Spies on Internet Downloads

This post was syndicated from: Schneier on Security and was written by: schneier. Original post: at Schneier on Security

Another story from the Snowden documents:

According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.)

[…]

CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.

The agency stores details about downloads and uploads to and from 102 different popular file-sharing websites, according to the 2012 document, which describes the collected records as “free file upload,” or FFU, “events.”

TorrentFreak: Canadian Government Spies on Millions of File-Sharers

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

spyBeing monitored online is a reality largely acknowledged by millions of file-sharers worldwide. Countless rightsholders, anti-piracy outfits, analytics companies and other interested parties crawl BitTorrent and other P2P networks every day, spying on downloads and gathering data.

While the public nature of these networks is perfect for those looking to eavesdrop, individuals who use file-hosting sites are often under the impression that their transfers cannot be monitored by third parties since transactions take place privately from user to site via HTTP.

That assumption has today been blown completely out of the water amid revelations that Canada’s top electronic surveillance agency has been spying on millions of downloads from more than 100 file-sharing sites.

Led by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s equivalent of the NSA, and codenamed LEVITATION, the project unveils widespread Internet surveillance carried out by Canadian authorities.

A document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and released to CBC News shows that in an effort to track down extremists the spy agency monitors up to 15 million downloads carried out by users around the world every day.

cse-ffu

According to the 2012 document, 102 file-sharing platforms were monitored by CSE. Just three were named – RapidShare, SendSpace, and the now defunct Megaupload. None of the sites were required to cooperate with the Canadian government since CSE had its own special capabilities.

“A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites,” The Intercept‘s analysis of the document notes.

Once harvested those IP addresses are cross-referenced with vast amounts of additional data already intercepted by the United States’ NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ. Subsequent searches have the ability to show a list of other websites visited by those downloading from file-hosting sites.

Further associations can then be made with Facebook or Google accounts (via Google analytics cookies) which have the potential to link to names, addresses and other personal details. It’s a potent mix but one apparently designed to weed out just a small number of files from millions of daily events.

fewdocs

According to the LEVITATION documents the system has the ability to track downloads in countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North America.

Under law, CSE isn’t allowed to spy on Canadians, but IP addresses belonging to a web server in Montreal appeared in a list of “suspicious” downloads. Also monitored by CSE were downloads carried out by citizens located in closely allied countries including the U.S., UK, Germany and Spain.

“CSE is clearly mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence to protect Canada and Canadians from a variety of threats to our national security, including terrorism,” CSE spokesman Andrew McLaughlin told CBC.

While it may be of comfort for Canadians to learn that the government is only interested in a small number of files being exchanged outside the country’s borders, mass surveillance of this kind always has the potential to unnerve when mission-creep raises its head.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Piracy Notices Boost Demand For Anonymous VPNs in Canada

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-runningDue to a recent change to Canada’s copyright law, ISPs are now required to forward copyright infringement notices to their customers.

As a result, tens of thousands of Internet subscribers have received warnings in their mailboxes over the past days, with some asking for cash settlements.

The so-called notice-and-notice system aims to reduce local piracy rates, but it appears that not all Canadians are ready to give up their habits.

Instead, many file-sharers are taking measures to hide their IP-addresses and bypass the monitoring companies copyright holders have hired. By using VPN services or BitTorrent proxies their sharing activities can no longer be linked to their ISP account, effectively evading the notice system.

Data from Google trends reveals that interest in anonymizing services has spiked with searches for “VPN” nearly doubling in recent weeks. This effect, shown in the graph below, is limited to Canada and likely a direct result of the new law.

“VPN” searches in Canada
vpncanada

The effects are clearly noticeable at VPN providers as well, in both traffic and sales. TorGuard, a VPN and BitTorrent proxy provider saw the number of Canadian visitors and subscribers double this year.

“Since the start of 2015 TorGuard has seen a drastic jump in Canadian traffic and subscribers. At the time of this writing our Canadian sales are up roughly 100% and this trend appears to be increasing,” TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt tells us.

TorGuard traffic from Canada
torgcanada

Aside from steering people towards anonymizing tools Canada’s notice-and-notice scheme also piqued the interest of the Government. The abuse of these notices in particular.

Another consequence of the new law is that Canadian VPN providers have to warn pirating users as well. For most services this is impossible, as they don’t keep any IP-address logs, adding further insecurity to the local market.

For now, none of the VPN providers we spoke with plan to start logging but if they are forced to do so the preference is to move their businesses outside Canada.

From the above it’s clear that the new notice-and-notice system is certainly having an impact, but how many file-sharers stop pirating and how many choose to hide instead is anyone’s guess at this point.

One thing’s for certain though, VPN services are certainly becoming a more mainstream option.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Canadian Govt. Outlaws Bogus Piracy Notices

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Recent changes to Canadian copyright law mean that when rightsholders observe local Internet users infringing copyright online, ISPs must forward any resulting infringement notices to their customers.

The new system has only been in place for just over a week but rightsholders haven’t wasted any time sending notices out. Even smaller ISPs such as Teksavvy are forwarding in excess of 3,000 notices per day.

While notices are one of the more reasonable anti-piracy options available today, there are companies that want to augment those gentle warnings into something more aggressive. Close to day one of the new law, U.S.-based anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp began sending infringement notices to Canadians with cash-settlement threats attached.

“You could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement in civil penalties,” the notices told alleged music pirates.

Sadly, the claim is completely untrue. Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. This miscalculated eagerness to break the Canadian market could now cost Rightscorp dearly.

Within a day of the company’s bogus threats being made public, Rightscorp attracted the negative attentions of the Canadian government and placed the turn-piracy-into-profit business model under scrutiny.

“These notices are misleading and companies cannot use them to demand money from Canadians,” said Jake Enright, a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore.

The good news for Internet subscribers is that government officials will contact Internet service providers during the days to come in order to put an end to these threats. However, it’s not clear that will put a complete end to Rightscorp’s activities in Canada.

According to University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, there is nothing in Canada’s new legislation which restricts the ability of rights holders to include information in notices that goes beyond a simple advisory that copyright law has been breached.

On this basis it seems unlikely that Rightscorp will simply give up. Government comment on the original notices centers around the anti-piracy company’s erroneous citing of U.S. law so modification to reflect the true Canadian position should bring the piracy monetization outfit into line.

It may be, however, that given the government intervention ISPs will choose not to forward Rightscorp notices at all.

Demands for cash aren’t popular with Internet subscribers and there are signs that leading ISPs in the United States don’t like the approach either. While they forward the infringement notices themselves, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other major ISPs remove the attached cash settlement demands.

Nevertheless, Rightscorp does work with dozens of smaller ISPs who are happy to assist with the company’s business model. And despite plenty of information being available which advises letter recipients not to pay, many still pay a $20 ‘fine’ to get the company off their back.

Sadly though, sometimes this has the opposite effect. One of Rightscorp’s tactics is to send a bill for $20 for one track from an album and then when people pay, they are subsequently billed for the rest of the tracks at a further $20 each.

Before the notice recipient pays the first $20, Rightscorp has no idea of the person’s identity and would need to spend a lot of money in court to find out – hardly worth it for $20. But having paid $20 and signed a disclaimer, the company now knows the person’s name and address.

At this point the pressure to pay can become overwhelming. Time will tell if Canadians can avoid these tactics.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: U.S. ‘Strikes’ Scheme Fails to Impact Piracy Landscape

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

FBIpiracydeptAlongside site blocking and attacking the finances of pirate sites, so-called “strike” schemes are one of the preferred anti-piracy mechanisms of the mainstream entertainment companies.

The idea is simple. Rightsholders monitor their works being exchanged on file-sharing networks, capture IP addresses of alleged infringers, and send complaints to those individuals’ ISPs. These notices are then forwarded to inform customers of their errant behavior.

There can be little doubt that this option is preferable to suing users en masse, but is the approach effective? Thanks to MPAA documents sent to the studios and obtained by TorrentFreak, we now have a clearer idea of whether the movie business itself thinks that “strikes” programs work – and more besides.

One document, titled ‘Notice & Graduated Response Programs’ begins by stating the primary aim of the programs: “Reduce P2P piracy while educating consumers about, and directing them to, legal content.”

Also confirmed is the MPAA’s desire to implement graduated response schemes with mitigation measures and awareness campaigns attached, the U.S. “Copyright Alerts System” (CAS) for example.

CAS mitigation measures haven’t proven to be particularly aggressive thus far but plenty of users have received notices. Around 1.3 million notices were sent in the first 10 months of operations. By November last year, Comcast alone had sent one million warnings.

But does the Copyright Alerts System work?

While it’s clear that the studios believe these schemes are part of the answer, the MPAA is pragmatic about the CAS behind closed doors, largely since it believes efforts thus far are just the beginning.

The U.S. system is “not yet at scale” or operating with “enough education support” according to the MPAA. As a result the CAS has not made an “impact on the overall [piracy] landscape.”

That said, the MPAA does claim some successes among those receiving notices.

“US program – with escalating remedial measures – [is] reasonably effective in decreasing P2P piracy by those actually receiving notices/alerts,” one summary reads.

However, the claim that some notice recipients mend their ways after receiving a warning (the rate of re-offending is actually quite high) is somewhat contradicted by another statement later in the same document.

“No current information as to the behavior of users who appear to stop P2P infringement – do not know whether [they are] migrating to other pirate systems or to lawful services,” the statement reads.

Nevertheless, the MPAA appears keen to expand the program to a point where impact is more meaningful. This will require cooperation with ISPs, both on volumes and mitigation measures.

Expansion, tougher punishments

“Attainability as to existing programs boils down to whether ISPs will agree (a) to expand scale to levels that might impact overall P2P piracy, and (b) to enhance remedial measures so as to improve efficacy,” the MPAA writes.

Plans to double up on the number of warnings being sent have already been revealed but whether ISPs will be keen to further punish customers remains to be seen. Still, the MPAA’s graduated response “secondary objective” might help them decide.

“Build and leverage relationships with ISPs; acknowledgement by ISPs of some responsibility for infringement through their systems; gain and/or strengthen government and other influential support for ISP accountability,” the objective reads.

Strikes systems worked elsewhere, right?

Perhaps surprisingly the MPAA has pushed ahead with CAS in the United States despite knowing that similar schemes have produced lukewarm results elsewhere.

“Programs in France and South Korea (both mandated/managed by government) – and available in New Zealand and Ireland” have had a “limited impact” according to the MPAA.

And the notice-and-notice scheme just launched in Canada and the UK’s upcoming VCAP warning system probably won’t produce nice surprises either. The MPAA believes that both are “likely” to prove less effective than programs with mitigation measures, such as the United States’. CAS.

The future

For the coming year it seems likely that while the MPAA will try to expand its current notice programs by volume, it will not attempt to introduce similar schemes elsewhere.

Will users flood to legitimate services though? The MPAA doesn’t know today and won’t know anytime soon but in any event that desired effect will probably require much more investment.

“Should see reasonable economies of scale…but to scale to level that will impact overall P2P piracy will likely require substantial additional resources,” the movie group says.

“May not have reliable data about impact for 1-2 years.”

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Canadian Piracy Notices: From Benign to Ridiculous

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

canada-pirateA change in the law means that when copyright holders spot Canadian subscribers’ Internet connections sharing content online without permission, ISPs must forward any resulting infringement notices to their customers.

Following its introduction less than a week ago, the so-called notice-and-notice system is already being utilized by entertainment companies. Small but popular ISP Teksavvy confirms that it’s already sending out thousands of notices to its subscribers every single day.

“With notice-and-notice, in early January 2015 we were receiving about 3000 copyright infringement notices each day,” the company confirms.

But despite knowing about the system for some time (and the relevant Canadian laws which led to its introduction), it seems that rightsholders haven’t yet found the time to customize their takedown notices to accommodate the law of the land.

“Many of [the notices] are formatted based on the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’) requirements, although we expect that to change over time,” Teksavvy add.

While the aims of a DMCA takedown notice tend to be understood internationally, there are companies involved in anti-piracy activities who make more explicit threats so should be more prepared. University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist has already spotted a particularly bad example.

The ridiculous

Rightscorp Inc. is a U.S. based anti-piracy outfit whose activities have been documented here many times. Their business model involves tagging cash demands onto takedown notices so it perhaps comes as no surprise that Canada has become the company’s latest target.

However, instead of tailoring their demands to the Canadian market, Rightscorp have simply exported their U.S. model north. A notice obtained by Geist and sent by Rightscorp on behalf of music outfit BMG reveals the details.

“Your ISP account has been used to download, upload or offer for upload copyrighted content in a manner that infringes on the rights of the copyright owner. Your ISP service could be suspended if this matter is not resolved. You could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement in civil penalties,” the notice reads.

As Geist points out, the $150,000 claim is bogus since Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. Disconnecting a user from the Internet is also out since there is no provision under Canadian law. Even the claim against music piracy is up for debate.

“Given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), some experts argue that certain personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada,” Geist explains.

The benign

But while Rightscorp aim to scare Internet subscribers, it’s clear that other notices being received are much less worrisome. A copy of a notice sent to a Bell Aliant subscriber and obtained by TorrentFreak is a good example.

The subscriber had been downloading a DVD screener copy of the movie American Sniper on Thursday which took just 10 mins to complete. Nevertheless, that was enough to receive a standard U.S. DMCA notice from Warner Bros a few hours later.

“We have received information that an individual has utilized the below-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted material. The title in question is: American Sniper,” the Warner Bros. notice begins.

“The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted television programs constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.

The notice made no threats but did contain a request for the ISP to deal with the customer under its abuse policy. The ISP forwarded the notice but nothing was done to punish the recipient.

From: Copyright Notification
Date: Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at XX:XX
Subject: Important notice regarding your Internet activity [******]

The Government of Canada requires by law that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) let their clients know when content owners contact them about possible unauthorized use of the content owner’s material such as illegal downloading of music, videos and games. As a result, we must let you know that we have received the below notification related to your account.

We want to assure you that Bell Aliant as your Internet Service Provider played no part in the identification of possible unauthorized use of content but are only passing on the owner’s message as required by law.

If you have any questions or need clarification please contact the content owner directly. For more information on why you received this notice visit http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=858069 . Thank you for your cooperation.

The person who received the notice told TF that while he was surprised to have received one so quickly, his downloading habits won’t change.

“I’ll continue to download, I’ll now be activating my VPN though whenever torrenting activity is going on,” he explained. “I suspect it’s a scare tactic that will work on most of the novice Canadians that download. I also suspect that roughly 90% of Canadians have downloaded something illegally, or know some who does for them.”

It’s expected that most ISPs will handle notices carefully but if any reader receives any notices containing threats or aggressive language, please feel free to forward them.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Anti-Piracy Firm ‘Caught’ Pirating News Articles

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Copyright is a double-edged sword, and those who sharpen one side often get cut by the other. We see it happening time and time again with lawyers, lawmakers, anti-piracy groups and copyright holders.

In Canada the local anti-piracy group Canipre is running into the same trap. The blog copyrightenforcement.ca, which is linked to one of the company’s top executives and often used to post Canipre press releases, has been making a habit out of lifting articles written by hard-working journalists.

Most of the articles that appear on the site are copied from other news sources, including TechCrunch, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter, TorrentFreak and many others.

At TF we publish our content under a CC license, so there’s no foul play there, but the other news sites are not all copy friendly. In fact, the publication of most of the lifted articles amounts to blatant copyright infringement.

While fair dealing exists, posting full articles, some of which are behind a paywall, generally doesn’t fall into this category. And it’s not only the text that’s being copied but also the images which are often independently copyrighted.

After becoming the first company to go after individual Canadian file-sharers in court, this week Canipre announced a new campaign to send copyright infringement warnings to ISPs under the notice-and-notice program.

However, as University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist points out, they may have to start sending piracy notices to their own staff first.

“Canipre would likely offer its services to the media companies whose work is affected, yet it might want to take a closer look at its internal conduct before throwing stones in the form of thousands of notices alleging infringement,” Geist notes.

Making matter even worse, this isn’t the first time that Canipre has been linked to unauthorized copying. Two years ago the company’s own website blatantly used photos that were ripped-off from independent photographers.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: VPN Services Consider Leaving Canada to Protect Customer Privacy

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

canadaA few days ago it became a legal requirement for Canadian ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to their subscribers.

As a result of the new copyright law amendments, which also apply to VPN services, providers now have to keep logs of their subscribers’ IP-addresses or face high penalties.

Specifically, the law requires a broad range of Internet services to “retain records that will allow the identity of the person to whom the electronic location belongs to be determined, and do so for six months….”

Failing to log traffic and forward these notices may result in “statutory damages in an amount that the court considers just, but not less than $5,000 and not more than 10,000…”

The new rules also apply to BTGuard, a well-known Canadian VPN and proxy service that claims to keep no logs. Concerned that the new data retention requirements would force a change in this policy, several customers asked the provider for clarification.

Responding to these requests BTGuard assured its customers that its logging policy remains unchanged. However, BTGuard may discontinue its Canadian servers in the near future.

“Rest assured that we are committed to our customers’ privacy. As stated in our privacy policy, we do not log our customers’ usage or IPs and never will,” one customer was told by BTGuard.

“It’s possible that this legislation will require us to discontinue our servers in Canada, but we will find a solution and our services will continue where it’s legal to be anonymous without causing you any inconvenience,” the company added.

In a separate request we asked BTGuard for a comment on how the new law will affect its business. In a short comment we were informed that they are still exploring their options and that no final decision has been made yet.

“We still guarantee privacy. Our servers in Canada might be closed, but we are still exploring our options,” BTGuard’s Jared told TF.

Other providers are prepared to take similar measures. While the text of the law suggests that VPN providers are covered (something that’s also confirmed by one of Canada’s top copyright scholars), many are still uncertain about the exact impact it will have.

TunnelBear informed us that they are still investigating if they are indeed covered by the new legislation. If they are, the company will take its business elsewhere.

“Despite our investigation and legal consultations, it remains unclear whether or not VPN companies are included in the bill. We have brought on legal counsel to continue to investigate,” TunnelBear says.

“If it is determined that TunnelBear is required to comply with C11 if we retain operations in Canada, we will swiftly move our operations to a more privacy friendly region. At no point, under any circumstances will TunnelBear log the activity of our users,” TunnelBear adds.

For TunnelBear the issue is less urgent than for others though, as the company doesn’t allow torrent traffic on its servers.

While the changes may reduce piracy somewhat, it also negatively affects people’s privacy. And with the new data retention requirements Canada has certainly become an unattractive location for VPNs and other privacy services.

TF is interested in hearing how other Canadian providers intend to respond to the new law. We sent out more inquiries and will add to this article when responses are received.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.