COPYRIGHT & THE REAL WORLD

Over in the EU the copyright laws are being modernized. There are a lot of problems with the legislation and I expect it will be changed.

The copyright cartel of large corporate conglomerates have not litigated nearly as much as smaller operations. The MPAA and RIAA have not spent much effort on litigation.

The EU law requires platforms like YouTube and Facebook, for example, to sign licensing agreements with creators in order to use their content. If that is not possible, the platforms will have a responsibility to ensure that infringing content uploaded by users is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services. I am not sure how this will work as I share content on social media widely.

Germany has indicated that upload filers likely will not work. It’s so easy to change a torrent with a text file added.

Some months ago, a honeypot entrapment was used to ensnare downloaders. When the action was brought to light, the lawyers involved were imprisoned and the lawsuits were dismissed.

Site blocking does not work as new domains can be created in seconds. The recent EU demand for filters will not work either. Inconsequential changes can alter the MD5 signature. The use of AI to identify content is controversial.

10 years ago the operators of the Pirate Bay were arrested, convicted, fined and jailed. The site has remained largely intact.

Seed boxes have been targeted. The whack a mole approach has not been very successful. Many laptops are used as seed boxed when a person goes for coffee and it stays online transiently. A few homes have been jacked up and several old desktop machines confiscated here and there.

The US and Canada have not been an easy for litigators. Courts ruled an IP address is not an identifiable person. The widespread use of NAT with Wi-Fi makes it impossible for trolls to identify torrent peers. Worse is that courts have not given trolls any material awards making it unprofitable.

CANADA

On December 13, 2018, Parliament amended the Copyright Act to clarify that a notice of claimed infringement that contains an offer to settle, or a request or demand for payment or for personal information, or a reference to any such offer, request or demand, in relation to the claimed infringement, does not comply with the Notice and Notice regime.

Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean that you have in fact infringed copyright or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.

Notices that contain an offer to settle, or a request or demand for payment or for personal information, or a reference to any such offer, request or demand, in relation to the claimed infringement, does not comply with the regime.

If ordered to do so by a court, the ISP or host must release your subscriber information to the copyright owner as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit. So far ISPs have vehemently opposed the trolls.

Trolls so far have ignored the law with their shakedown campaigns. Given the law. I suspect somebody might take a troll to court and sue them in retaliation for illegal trolling. So far only Canada is the only known to make it illegal to ask for money up front.

A troll may decide to launch legal proceedings. Such proceedings may be launched regardless of whether the troll has sent a notice under the regime. A court would then determine whether copyright infringement has in fact occurred.

So far trolls have not been getting anywhere with the court. This has discouraged trolls from filing lawsuits. Courts have also refused identification requests. Per the Supreme Court of Canada:

It must be borne in mind that being associated with an IP address that is the subject of a notice under s. 41.26(1)(a) is not conclusive of guilt.  As I have explained, the person to whom an IP address belonged at the time of an alleged infringement may not be the same person who has shared copyrighted content online. It is also possible that an error on the part of a copyright owner would result in the incorrect identification of an IP address as having been the source of online copyright infringement. Requiring an ISP to identify by name and physical address the person to whom the pertinent IP address belonged would, therefore, not only alter the balance which Parliament struck in legislating the notice and notice regime, but do so to the detriment of the privacy interests of persons, including innocent persons, receiving notice.

AD BLOCKING

Ad blocking is a form of copyright infringement. Again the problem of litigation is easier to attack the developers and distributors.