As of January 1st 2015, the final part of Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act went into effect requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and website hosts to relay notices of copyright infringement allegations to their customers.
While these notices don’t carry immediate legal ramifications, they serve as a warning that the copyright holder is aware of your IP address’ downloading activity and that legal action could follow.
Previously ISPs were able to decide if they wanted to inform their customers a copyright holder is aware of their illegal downloading. Internet service providers like Bell and Rogers have been periodically sending out these notifications for the last few years, but as of Jan. 1, doing so is now a legal requirement in Canada.
However, the new law introduces limitations on the amount of money a copyright holder can sue an individual for — $5,000 for downloading copyrighted material for personal use and $20,000 for downloading copyrighted content leading to commercial gain. According to the new law, customers receiving these notifications are also not told to remove the content from the Internet or their computer.
Since the cost of litigation is significant, it’s unlikely copyright holders will pursue illegal downloaders on an individual basis. Instead copyright holders will likely opt to take legal action against a large number of file sharers at once.
So be careful what you’re downloading from now on, Big Brother is watching!