You may have heard about legislation that came into effect January 2, 2015 requiring internet providers like Fido to forward “notices of alleged copyright infringement” from copyright holders when they believe one of that provider’s subscribers has “infringed their copyright”. Confused? You’re not alone!
We’ve landed an exclusive* interview with Pam Dinsmore, a Vice President at Rogers responsible for copyright policy, to tell you what this so-called “Notice and Notice” system is all about. (*exclusive in the sense that she works for Rogers and we wouldn’t let her say no.)
Pam, what’s this all about? Is it a new thing?
The legislation just formalizes a voluntary system, called Notice and Notice, which we’ve participated in for years. Basically a copyright holder (like a movie studio or record label) writes a notice and sends it to us if they believe one of our customers has infringed their copyright (like by illegally downloading a movie). We then forward the notice (which we can’t verify or alter) by email along to the customer, to discourage the customer from doing that activity anymore. It’s not a new practice, but we’re now legally required to pass along the notices. For our customers, there really isn’t any change.
Does the copyright holder know who the customer is?
This is important – no, they don’t. All they have is an IP address. Your privacy is important to us – we don’t tell the sender who you are, and wouldn’t do that without being compelled by law, like a warrant or court order. We don’t track or keep records about what you do online, just what IP address we assigned to you.
So what do these notices mean?
The notices are to discourage illegal activities like downloading or sharing a song or movie you haven’t purchased. A notice of alleged infringement is separate from any lawsuit for copyright infringement, but that doesn’t mean the copyright holder won’t also take legal action.
Is there anywhere customers can go to get more information?
You can check out Innovation, Science and Economic Canada’s Frequently Asked Questions on the Notice and Notice Regime here.
Also, we’re posting a sample of what a notice looks like below (well, the introductory part from us, anyway).
Re: Important information about your alleged online activity
Fido has received a notice from a copyright holder alleging that copyright infringement activities have been linked to your IP address. These activities may include downloading and/or uploading movies, music or games that are owned or exclusively licensed by others.
We’re required by Canadian copyright law to forward this unaltered notice to you; we can’t verify its contents nor its sender
The notice’s sender does not know who you are
We don’t keep records of what you do online
The notice does not require a response
Please read this entire email for full details.
Your privacy is important to us. We haven’t told the sender who you are and wouldn’t do that without being compelled by law with a warrant or court order. We do not track what you do online, however we do track the IP address we assigned to you. IP addresses are assigned in a dynamic way, which means it’s possible that someone else committed the illegal activity mentioned in the attached notice. If this is the case, the allegations would not apply to you.
You do not need to respond to this notice. According to the Government of Canada, this type of notice does not impose any obligations on you and you have no legal obligation to pay any settlement offered by a copyright owner. Fido cannot confirm the merits of any settlement payment that may be requested in the attached notice. In fact, notices that include such demands do not comply with the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Notice and Notice regime. Additional details about this consumer protection measure can be found here.
A notice of alleged infringement such as the one attached is separate from any lawsuit for copyright infringement. Please be aware that the copyright holder may also take legal action.
If you have any questions about the attached notice, click here, or please contact the sender using the information provided. However, if you contact the sender, you will no longer be anonymous to them. Currently the sender does not have your identity, which is why we are required to pass along this notice.
We trust you will comply with all applicable laws in using Fido’s services.