Barely a week after Canada’s new federal Copyright Modernization Act went into full effect – which requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to forward copyright violation notices from copyright holders to customers associated with the IP address where the downloading occurred – and reports are already surfacing that rights holders are sending notices issuing settlement demands for alleged instances of downloading copyright material.
The information comes via Michael Geist, a Canadian Law Professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. An unnamed Canadian ISP forwarded a notice it received from Rightscorp who operates on behalf of BMG Rights Management. In the notice, Rightscorp attempts to extract payments by using false statements and threats. As Geist notes:
The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns that the user’s Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no such provision under Canadian law. Moreover, given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada.
Rightscorp, and other rights holders, can include whatever information they want in their notices as the Canadian government has failed to add information requirements, and there is currently no penalty for including misleading information. Geist recommends that ISPs should preface these notices with there own information, and also called on the government to “quickly implement regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices and creating penalties for those companies that send notices with false or misleading information.” Shaw Cablesystems is already prefacing their notices with a message similar to the one below:
Content owners that hold property rights for material such as movies, music and other content, actively monitor Internet activity to protect their rights. We have been notified by a content owner that your Internet Protocol (IP) address has been associated with suspected copyright infringement. As part of new Canadian copyright legislation*, we are obliged to forward to you the attached copy of the content owner’s notice. We are unaware of the full details and merit of this infringement claim. If you have questions concerning this matter, please contact the content owner directly – contact information is listed in the attached notice.
Infringement of copyright laws may result in the content owner pursuing remedies available under applicable laws to protect its interests. We encourage enabling secured passwords on your home Wi-Fi network if you have one to avoid unauthorized use of your Internet connection.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Please see the link below for more information:
Shaw Cablesystems G.P.
The preface is pretty generic but as you can see Shaw is stating that they are merely passing on the notice as required by law, and in the text we emphasized states that they have no further details, and even go one step further in encouraging subscribers enable secure passwords on their Wi-Fi networks. As well, Shaw suggests that “[i]f you have questions concerning this matter, please contact the content owner directly.” You should note that if you do this, you are freely giving the rights holders your contact information which they otherwise need a court order to force the ISP to hand over.
Geist also goes on to note in order to proceed with a lawsuit, Rightscorp and BMG would have to file for a court order to access the subscriber’s personal information. After reading the notice, it’s not hard to see how an unsuspecting subscriber could be scared into utilizing the settlement link that is contained within the notice.
What do you think about the new Copyright Modernization Act requirements and the way Rightscorp is adding false and additional information above and beyond the minimum required? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter; especially if you have received one of these notices.
Subject: Unauthorized Use of Copyrights RE:
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2015 00:00:00 -0600 (CST)
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
**NOTE TO ISP: PLEASE FORWARD THE ENTIRE NOTICE***
Re: Unauthorized Use of Copyrights Owned Exclusively by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
Dear Sir or Madam:
Your ISP has forwarded you this notice.
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 file BMG Artist – BMG Song.mp3 was infringed upon by a computer at IP Address 192.—.—.— on 2015-01-02 00:00:00.0 GMT.
We represent the copyright owner.
This notice is an offer of settlement.
If you follow the link below and login to the Rightscorp, Inc. automated settlement system, for $20 per infringement, you will receive a legal release from the copyright owner.
Follow this link or copy and paste into your browser:
Rightscorp, Inc. represents the following ‘copyright owner(s)’ BMG Rights Management (US) LLC (‘BMG’). BMG is the exclusive owners of copyrights for BMG Artist musical
compositions, including the musical compositions listed below. It has come to our attention that ISP Internet Services Provider is the service provider for the IP address listed below, from which unauthorized copying and distribution (downloading, uploading, file serving, file ‘swapping’ or other similar activities) of BMG’s exclusive copyrights listed below is taking place.
This unauthorized copying and/or distribution constitutes copyright infringement under the U.S. Copyright Act. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 512(c), this letter serves as actual notice of infringement. We hereby demand you immediately and permanently cease and desist the unauthorized copying and/or distribution (including, but not limited to downloading, uploading, file sharing, file ‘swapping’ or other similar activities) of recordings of BMG Artist compositions, including but not limited to those items listed in this correspondence.
BMG will pursue every available remedy including injunctions and recovery of attorney’s fees, costs and any and all other damages which are incurred by BMG as a result of any action that is commenced against you. Nothing contained or omitted from this letter is, or shall be deemed to be either a full statement of the facts or applicable law, an admission of any fact, or a waiver or limitation of any of BMG’s rights or remedies, all of which are specifically retained and reserved. The information in this notification is accurate.
We have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of herein is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or by operation of law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights that have been infringed. While BMG is entitled to monetary damages from the infringing party under 17 U.S.C. Section 504, The BMG believes that it may be expeditious to settle this matter without the need of costly and time-consuming litigation.
In order to help you avoid further legal action from BMG, we have been authorized to offer a settlement solution that we believe is reasonable for everyone. To access this settlement offer, please copy and paste the URL below into a browser and follow the instructions for the settlement offer:
Very truly yours,
3100 Donald Douglas Loop, North,
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Telephone: (310) 751-7510
** For any correspondence regarding this case, please send your emails to [email protected] and refer to Notice ID:
If you need immediate assistance or if you have general questions please call the number listed above.
Infringement Source: Torrent
Timestamp: 2015-01-02 00:00:00.0 GMT
Infringers IP Address: 192.—.—.—-
Infringers Port: 12345
Listing of infringement(s) (Title/Filename/Timestamp/Hash): BMG Artist
BMG Song | BMG Artist – BMG Song.mp3 | 2015-01-02 00:00:00.0 | SHA1 |