CANIPRE (pronounced canny prey,) Canadian Intellectual Property Rights Enforecment, in an undated piece, announced that in 2015 it would be protecting our copyright by tracking our Internet traffic. They will sell their services to rights holders. They managed to get the government to rewrite copyright law to support this effort. A major part of this legislation forces Internet Service Providers to pass on an Infringement Notification to whomever they say. On January 5 they announced the beginning of this program.
On January 6 Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor who often blogs on copyright issues, pointed out that the blog carrying the announcement is itself probably guilty of copyright infringement. It’s in the habit of re-posting entire articles from other media outlets, including so-called exclusive content that requires payment to read. This goes well beyond the scope of fair dealing even if they hadn’t overlooked giving proper attribution to the original article.
On January 8 Geist showed us that this new Infringement Notification system is being used to intimidate people into paying protection by threatening to do them far worse harm. They back up the threat by implying that they know who the alleged infringer is, when under Canadian law they can’t, and by implying penalties that are 30 times as high as allowed in Canada. ISPs are forced to forward false information to their customers, the purpose of which is to extract money from people who have not been proven guilty of anything. Happily, ISPs are attaching clarifications to the notice, pointing out the falsehoods and standing up for their customers.
The government was warned that this would happen and they could have avoided it by clearly stating what would constitute a valid notification. They chose not to. Today, January 12, Geist wrote about how the government is now saying that they’re going to do something about it. Meanwhile, ISPs have to continue passing on false information or be fined $5000, and their customers continue to be at the mercy of this copyright protection racket.
This wouldn’t be happening if we has a rational copyright system.