According to a report by CBC News, film and TV production companies have started getting names and addresses of IP holders in Canada and are suing individuals for illegal torrent downloads. “They can get a default judgment and they can go for the maximum, which is $5,000,” said privacy lawyer David Fraser on CBC Radio’s Mainstreet.
A #torrent of lawsuits are descending on Canadians accused of online file sharing. If you get one of these, it can’t be ignored. You’re actually being sued for #copyright infringement. More info here: https://t.co/RmqKvAA0cV
(Previous tweet had a broken link) pic.twitter.com/Zy5v1MhGlO
— David T.S. Fraser (@privacylawyer)
While studios have been cracking down on people illegally downloading shows and movies by targeting suspects through sending notices to their internet providers, they have now started getting orders through the Federal Court of Canada against the ISPs to obtain the customer’s exact name and address.
Fraser revealed that letters are being sent to the homes of the IP address holders, but are addressed to “John Doe” from the movie studio. The statement of claim says “John Doe,” but the letter accompanying it is to the intended defendant:
“And so you’re thinking, I’m not John Doe. But when you go through it, it’s obviously full of a whole lot of legalese and comes with a cover letter from a law firm in Toronto saying that you are, in fact, being sued,” Fraser said.
Fraser said the letters are targeting users of BitTorrent sites, which allow people to download chunks of a movie or TV show from multiple sources.
“When you’re using that protocol, you’re also one of the 50 [sharing it] … which means that you’re exposing your internet protocol address, your IP address associated with your home network, to anybody who wants to see it,” Fraser said.
The letters state that the recipient has 30 days from the date of receiving the letter and statement of claim to file a defence. If the IP address holder doesn’t file a defence, Fraser said the studio could get a default judgment against them and then collect their damages.
So the next time you plan to illegally download a TV show such as Game of Thrones, you might need to think twice before you do. Better yet, follow this post to find out how you can stream the show legally in Canada.