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Canada Creates Cap On Liability For File Sharing Lawsuits

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the mpaa-ground-troops-reported-in-toronto dept.

Canada 208

An anonymous reader writes "Over the past couple of days, there have been reports about the return of file sharing lawsuits to Canada, with fears that thousands of Canadians could be targeted. While it is possible that many will receive demand letters, Michael Geist has posted a detailed primer on liability in Canada that notes that recent changes to Canadian copyright law limit liability in non-commercial cases to a maximum of $5,000 for all infringement claims. In fact, it is likely that a court would award far less — perhaps as little as $100 — if the case went to court as even the government's FAQ on the recent copyright reform bill provided assurances that Canadians 'will not face disproportionate penalties for minor infringements of copyright by distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial infringement.'"

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First global warming now this... (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42117665)

Yet another reason to consider moving to Canada...

Re:First global warming now this... (5, Funny)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#42117951)

Don't move to Canada!

Instead, let's start importing common sense from Canada. Since it is a limited natural resource, we would have to negotiate a fair market price for it. But we need it because the natural reserves of common sense in the US seem scarce.

Re:First global warming now this... (5, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#42118063)

NO!!! It's our common scene and we're not sharing it. Start making your own Eh!

Re:First global warming now this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118089)

Won't work.

Like their oil, the US doesn't want the common sense either. The Canadians will have to sell that to the Chicoms, too.

Re:First global warming now this... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42118399)

Not sure if I want any of Canadian Common Sense [thecanadian.org] to be honest. Then again EVERYBODY should have implemented something like this past the very first copyright lawsuit where the kid got slammed for 6-7 figures, so about a decade later glad to see a single country do it, now about buying a server in Canada... :)

Re:First global warming now this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42119301)

If you're serious, try my friends at VMFarms (vmfarms.com)

Re:First global warming now this... (5, Funny)

jameshofo (1454841) | about 2 years ago | (#42118475)

We could petition our congressmen, who will then ask the Record companies if its OK! it can't hurt to ask right?

Re:First global warming now this... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42118817)

Where does the pipeline go? Odds are they'll pump it all down to Texas, where it will promptly disappear.

Re:First global warming now this... (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42118877)

Relax. In a couple of generations the US will be utterly reliant on Canada for much of its grain, energy and fresh water. You can join Confederation, get proper universal health care (instead of that bizarre bastardized system known as Obamacare, something only an American government could come up with), have Prince William as head of titular head of state instead of that incredibly silly President person, an executive that can be toppled by a vote of no confidence by the legislative branch, loonie dollar coins and a more sensible approach to copyright.

Heck, with the Westminster System, the likelihood of a third or fourth party have decent representation in the legislative branch goes up significantly.

Oh, and we have a plucky national anthem.

Re:First global warming now this... (2)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#42118953)

The combination of Prince William and "titular" made me chuckle. 'Cause billy likes tits.

Re:First global warming now this... (2)

BriggsBU (1138021) | about 2 years ago | (#42119149)

Everyone likes tits.

Re:First global warming now this... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42119035)

You would have to get rid of the nutjobs like the Tea Party, Fox News followers, etc...

Re:First global warming now this... (1)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#42119095)

I am all for this law, so long as you can still download a movie you have otherwise bought.

Reasonable Provisions? (5, Insightful)

cs2501x (1979712) | about 2 years ago | (#42117685)

When corporations are not involved in the law making process, it would seem the likelihood of reasonable laws increases.

Re:Reasonable Provisions? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118191)

Well, DUH!

If there's nobody to bribe politicians, they will do what gets them votes, after all, then this is their main income. They are just like any whores, they follow the money.

Re:Reasonable Provisions? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42118721)

There were plenty of corporations involved. It's not illegal to rip a DVD to put in on your phone, for example. In general, it's illegal to break electronic locks.

Re:Reasonable Provisions? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42118897)

In Canada it's illegal for a business to donate money to a politician.

Re:Reasonable Provisions? (3, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 2 years ago | (#42119189)

"If there's nobody to bribe politicians"

Or more simply, implement a completely transparent registry of all lobbyists, who they *really* represent, and all their meetings:

https://ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/home

Go ahead and try to bribe, or strong-arm. Someone *will* notice. There's people who's only job is to watch the list and report on it.

Re:Reasonable Provisions? (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42118925)

You should have seen the proposed copyright laws dating back to the Liberal government of the early 2000s. RIAA and MPAA were pushing really hard for a super-DMCA, and were still putting on the pressure over the last few years. But every once in a while, making a helluva lot of noise can accomplish something. I wrote my MP three letters over the last five years detailing out how the media industry-backed legislation would significantly harm consumers, remove choice and open up even minor infringement to destructive lawsuits.

Lawsuits or levies, not both (2)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 2 years ago | (#42117815)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy#Canada [wikipedia.org]

If I bought a spindle of DVDs, I should not be able to be sued.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (4, Informative)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 2 years ago | (#42117863)

You might want to read what you linked to - the levy doesn't exist on DVDs since it only covers audio. Download music in Canada, without making it available yourself (so no bittorrent), and you should be good. Download a movie and you can still be sued.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (2)

epp_b (944299) | about 2 years ago | (#42118133)

Right, but... Are they going to even bother going after movie downloaders when the maximum they can extort is $5k? I mean, that won't even cover their legal fees for one case.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (2, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 2 years ago | (#42119219)

> $5k? I mean, that won't even cover their legal fees for one case.

Exactly.

Note that commercial limits are much higher, as they should be. So expect cases about what makes you "commercial".

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (5, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42118423)

What I do is set my upload to 0. I know, I'm a dick for not seeding, but there's not much I can do.

In terms of being sued, it's simply not worth the company's time to sue an individual now. They're limited to actual damages (which require a receipt), court costs (we have a loser-pay system here) and punitive damages (which are reasonable here). The total liability is now up to $5000 and there is no guarantee that you would see that. In terms of digital lockbreaking tools, the tools themselves are not illegal to own, and any damages for personal use are strictly limited to what they can prove. (i.e. they have a receipt; e.g. Beardo ripped Movie instead of buying a digital copy, we're out $9.99.)

For claims less than $25k, they would be forced to go to small-claims court, which would also prevent a label from using their Uber-Lawyer team. You'd have to have the actual person who is being damaged go to court.

Further, the ISPs here require a warrant to disclose information. They will not share IP and personal info in a civil case because they could get sued by our Privacy Commissioner. That office has some teeth; they're the guys who forced FB to change some of their regulations.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | about 2 years ago | (#42118713)

What I do is set my upload to 0.

In many file sharing apps, a setting of 0 = unlimited.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42118985)

I use Transmission. Upload speed is capped at 0.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about 2 years ago | (#42119169)

The total liability cap kind of makes the total liability a moot point, but one thing to clarify is that court costs are decided by the court and don't cover full legal fees. Full filing fees, disbursements etc are, but the rate for a lawyer's time and what is considered a billable increment is controlled and to my knowledge pretty much never covers the cost of a real lawyer going to court.

Back on topic.. My hope is that this way of dealing with infringement pushes big media into actually providing easier and more convenient access to digital media. I was just discussing with a friend how absurd blu-ray is to our generation. We don't want/need media for something we are going to watch once. We just want a quick DL with good quality (which really doesn't need the space available on a BR disc). For TV I'm happy with 720P and for movies a decently encoded 1080P video. I can get that on bittorrent. If I was able to get it from the source as fast or faster with as good or better quality.. I'd pay as would many others. If these laws make suing filesharing into nonexistence infeasible maybe monetizing on digital distribution becomes appetizing. Maybe some of those companies holding out will finally license for Netflix Canada or start their own distribution in Canada.

The lack of access raises another question: what are actual damages of a "legal" digital copy is not available in Canada? I downloaded some movie and it's not available as a pay-for download in Canada. Still infringement, obviously, but what are the actual damages? If it's available on iTunes for $5.99, that's easy, it's $5.99. If it isn't available will the courts decide what a comparable value is or will they deem it as having no value. With the other media verdicts in Canada I can't see it being deemed to be worth the max allowable. That's what will be claimed, but that's not the precedent that's going to be set. I'm hoping some brave level headed judge decides not having it available digitally means no value. That will basically force the media giants into figuring out digital distribution in Canada (though the pessimist in me thinks they would make them available at higher cost than media purchases so they can drag their dinosaur feet a little longer).

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#42117883)

Doesn't work like that.

It's a practical measure, based on the realisation that DVD sales will increase piracy, blank DVD manufacturers pay a levy per unit and this is passed onto the customer.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about 2 years ago | (#42118033)

In the US: CDs meant for audio recordings yes, DVDs and data CDs no.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#42118065)

Canada's current private copying levies are as follows: $0.24 per unit for Audio Cassette tape (40min or longer), and $0.29 per unit for CD-R

Let me be optimistic here and suggest that you purchased a spindle of 100 CD-Rs.

That would be $29.00 in levies.

But wait a minute... sources (tigerdirect.ca [tigerdirect.ca] , amazon.ca [amazon.ca] tell me the price need only be somewhere around $15.

So what you're saying is, not only should you not be able to be sued for any hypothetical (right? right.) TV series and movies you have downloaded and most certainly (right? right.) wouldn't be burning to those CD-Rs... but, really, the copyright holders owe you $14.

I do agree that levies should be dropped, mind you. I'm also not a fan of lawsuits, however. Then again, if you're just making copies for yourself - I really don't think anybody should give a damn. If you start distributing - and that includes uploading - I say you're fair game.

Re:Lawsuits or levies, not both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118107)

A good article to read about the levy is right here: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/4515 . This was written by Russell McOrmond prior to our most recent copyright reform.

In response to the original article I have to wonder in what universe $5000 is not disportionate for private copyright infringement.

Sudden outbreak of common sense. (1)

Technician (215283) | about 2 years ago | (#42117819)

With high priced music and high risk even associating with use of purchased music, I have been out of the market since this started. Maybe customers will return in Canada. This is worth watching. I don't buy music because I can't use it for slideshows at weddings, dance party (public performance), etc. It is all restricted to private home use only. Really puts it in the buggy whip centrury. All the new internet uses are prohibited. Why purchase it?

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#42117889)

Huh? Amazon has albums for $5 all the time and there's zero percent risk of using your legally purchased files. I had been out of the market for a long time as well but when Amazon started selling unencumbered MP3's at reasonable prices I started buying an average of a couple albums a month.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (2)

decipher_saint (72686) | about 2 years ago | (#42117929)

That service is NOT available in Canada.

Which is a shame because I often find music I want through that service that I can't find CDs for.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42118479)

SOCAN requires...

Ugh, just look them up, they're assholes.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (1)

Zibodiz (2160038) | about 2 years ago | (#42118241)

I don't buy music because I can't use it for slideshows at weddings, dance party...

You must be a superhero-level slashdotter if you host enough dance parties for digital music to make any difference in your lifestyle. I'm guessing that the average slashdotter has never been to a dance party, let alone hosted one. I know I sure haven't.
Then again, this is slashdot, where the standard is to go way overboard over the tiniest thing, so maybe...

Geist for... (3, Insightful)

Ashenkase (2008188) | about 2 years ago | (#42117823)

Prime Minister

Re:Geist for... (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#42119161)

I really would support that.

He really is a voice of reason amongst annoying extremists (in both directions).

Relief (1)

olborro (1684086) | about 2 years ago | (#42117833)

This will be a relief for all those who will fall victim to the upcoming "crackdown" mentioned on slashdot in this article: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/11/27/230215/canada-prepares-for-crackdown-on-bittorrent-movie-pirates [slashdot.org] From my point of view it's just a typical money grab move, first lower the "fines" to acceptable levels so no major backlash from public will be involved, then you just go big game hunting (as in big $$).

Re:Relief (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#42118049)

Except it's pretty tricky to prove filesharing charges - there's actually very few lawsuits that go to court, just a few where the case is comparatively strong and the damages will be outrageous to scare everyone else into settling for a few grand. If the maximum penalty is instead a few grand (especially if the official recommendation is much lower for typical infractions) then a lot more people will be willing to actually go to court and the profitability of the business model will evaporate.

Re:Relief (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42119043)

If they came at me with threats of taking me to court, but the caps were $5,000, it would be worth it. For non-commercial file sharing, I simply do not see the media industry could create a Canadian version of Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum.

Re:Relief (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42119011)

Frankly I think it's a bit of a scare tactic. With caps on liability, it isn't going to be worth it to pursue non-commercial illegal downloaders. I mean, $5,000 won't even likely cover the lawyers' time for filings. In a rather backwards way, the new legislation basically kills Canadian IP law firms' hopes of making kazillions like their brethren south of the border.

reason and common sense (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 years ago | (#42117853)

Canada....would you mind shipping all this reason and common sense down south to the USA?

Re:reason and common sense (1)

MatrixCubed (583402) | about 2 years ago | (#42117923)

No. Get your own reason, goddamnit*.

*I am Canadian, and I approve of this message.

Re:reason and common sense (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#42117975)

If you were really Canadian you would of said:
"No, sorry. Please get your own reason."

*I am actually Canadian, and that is how we actually talk.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#42118121)

No, sorry. Please get your own reason. Eh!

FTFY

Re:reason and common sense (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118237)

No, sorry. Please get your own reason. Eh!

FTFY

You might want to provide a French translation of that sentence to avoid the probability of being asked to pay a fine, eh.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#42118425)

My french is really bad since I'm from Nova Scotia and don't use it on a regular basis. I'm probably more likely to get fined for mangling the language, but Non, excusez-moi. S'il vous plaît obtenir votre propre raison. Eh!

Re:reason and common sense (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#42118887)

Non, Désolé. S'il vous plaît obtenir votre propre motif. Hein ! :D

(on a separate note, what's with the Opera-Bing love? Opera offers right click Bing translation...But not Google Translate)

Re:reason and common sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118265)

I thought Canadians spoke better English than Americans; you've disappointed me.

"would've", as in "would have", not "would of". You may as well type "wood of", after all.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

MatrixCubed (583402) | about 2 years ago | (#42118477)

I don't throw around apologetic words when I have nothing for which I need to apologize. I also don't adhere to stereotypes; I don't say "eh" and I dislike Big Business hockey (though Olympic hockey is appealing), but maple syrup is f*n awesome.

It's fine if you want to refute my nationality, but you'd best have some fact to back your claim. FWIW I grew up near Ottawa on the Quebec side of the river, and currently live in Cambridge. I've experienced first-hand Quebec-nationalist separatism during my adolescence and college years, and am looking forward to visiting our Maritime provinces next summer with my daughter.

Canada is a melting-pot of nationalities, so making a claim about how "we" talk is, frankly, just racist.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#42118649)

Ah, well that explains it. The French part of Canada does not really count.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#42118983)

Canada is a cultural mosaic of nationalities

FTFY. The melting pot (assimilation) approach is America.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118217)

I'd only send a copy, but not the original.

Re:reason and common sense (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42118359)

Canada....would you mind shipping all this reason and common sense down south to the USA?

No need, we already have a law that prevents the imposition of excessive fines - it's called the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution. [wikipedia.org]

Problem is, it tends to get ignored; here's hoping the Canadian courts don't follow suit, as they have in the past.

Copyright, Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42117861)

We may have more expensive gas, harsher winters, less specials on Black Friday, but heck, at least we've got common sense.

$5000 dollars? (4, Funny)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#42117899)

> notes that recent changes to Canadian copyright law limit liability
> in non-commercial cases to a maximum of $5,000 for all infringement claims.


But that is $5000 in Canadian dollars. How much is that in human dollars?

Re:$5000 dollars? (4, Funny)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#42117963)

At current exchange rates, $5,033 USD, or $4814 AUD, and the rest, you can Google for yourself.

Re:$5000 dollars? (4, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#42118029)

$5000 currently [xe.com] equates to $5,036.67. That's right. As of right now when I'm writing this post, the Canadian dollar is actually worth more than the American Dollar. Hard to beleve considering only 10 years ago, the Canadian dollar was only worth 65 cents US.

Re:$5000 dollars? (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#42118249)

Yeah, it use to be great to get a $100 USD check from my Mom in NC for my Birthday. I use to be able to get $140 CAD out of it after the bank took their "transfer" fees. Now I'm luck if I can get $80 CAD. You have to watch the currency closely. The news the day before I deposited the last check from my mom to my daughter said the dollar was around $0.95 then when I cashed the check the next day the rate was around $1.05. After the bank took their "transfer" fee the $100 USD ended up being closer to $85 CAD.

Although it was funny as hell when Mom came to visit, gave a $5 USD bill at the Tim's drive through for a $4.95 order and was told it wasn't enough.

Re:$5000 dollars? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118259)

Dunno today, but in 2015 about a buck and fifty.

Re:$5000 dollars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118421)

Ahem... The Canadian dollar is currently worth more than the US dollar (1 CAD == 1.0063 USD right now)

Re:$5000 dollars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118805)

Okay, moron. Things have changed since the exchange rate between the US and Canada was so extreme. Today, the US and Canadian dollars are nearly at parity. Today, $5000 US = $4973.50 Canadian. There are still a variety of stereotypes about Canadians that you can amuse your limp little brain with. The exchange rate joke just doesn't make sense anymore.

I have a surprise for you ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118901)

"How much is that in human dollars?"

Canadians, like most of the other people in the world, think they are human. Are you implying that they aren't?

Oh wait ... I just noticed your sig. Never mind.

Re:$5000 dollars? (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | about 2 years ago | (#42118913)

2002 called. They politely (must have been Canadian) asked to stop making currency exchange jokes, as the USD is actually worth less now

Clarification??? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#42117903)

Does this means $5000 per lawsuit, or $5000 per person forever.
Because if it is just per lawsuit, than they could just sue you separately for every infringement. And if you pirate one song, you have likely pirated 5000.

Re:Clarification??? (2)

Drophet (2013758) | about 2 years ago | (#42118047)

In keeping with our Common Sense, bringing 5000 cases to court against an individual would be pretty obvious to the court, and time consuming for the company suing. I'm guessing our Judges would not like to see that, considering how congested our courts are already. Not to mention circumventing the spirit of the law in this case.
And the 5000 dollar sum is on the outside of the award - considering the guidelines for judges and the government FAQ on the matter (range from 100-5000 dollars) it is unlikely that 5k will be the norm.
Would it be worth it to the company suing?

Re:Clarification??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118091)

The courts can't handle 5000 separate lawsuits for one person.

I don't know how this problem will be addressed, but if I had to guess... most Judges will refuse to hear a case over 1 pirated song. They have plenty of 2-song cases. And so on, until some sort of equilibrium is reached.

Re:Clarification??? (2)

ToxicBanjo (905105) | about 2 years ago | (#42118141)

$5000 max for all infringement prior to the filing date of the lawsuit. You can not be sued for the same infringement twice.

However, $5000 is also unlikely as the range is from $100 to $5000 with emphasis implied towards the low end of that scale.

Re:Clarification??? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#42118197)

Sure, but it's hard enough to prove you pirated one song, and unless Canadian law is considerably different than US you can't use the outcome of an unrelated case (it must be right, otherwise they should have included it in the original case) as actual evidence, though you may be able to prejudice the judge a bit. Moreover if the maximum is $5000 then minor infractions (one song) will likely be far less and the profitability of suing you for each song is likely to be negative, not to mention judges will quickly see that the system is being gamed. They typically don't like that, which can go badly for the prosecuting attorney.

Re:Clarification??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118233)

$5000 is the maximum liability for all violations that occurred prior to the lawsuit, so rights-holders would not be able to file separate suits for each violation.

Re:Clarification??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118273)

In such cases, statutory damages will be reduced to a one-time payment of between $100 and $5000 for all infringements that took place prior to the lawsuit.

That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that FAQ (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42118007)

* provide legal protection for businesses that choose to use technological protection measures or "digital locks" to protect their work as part of their business models; and,
* give consumers the ability to, among other things, record their favourite TV shows for later viewing, transfer music from a CD to a digital device, and create a mash-up to post via social media.

In other words, stronger protections for (1) to take away (2). They explcitly repeat it under the consumer benefits as "if they are doing so for their private use and have not broken a digital lock." and under concerns of creators as "Consumers will not be able to break a digital lock to exercise these exceptions.". They're also going to hit on all sorts of "enablers" of copyright infringement, but don't worry because they say "Search engines and ISPs will be unaffected by this provision, to the extent that they act as true intermediaries." My guess is that there's no true Scotsman. But sure they capped the non-commercial infringement to $5k instead of $20k now. By the way, did anyone check if they use the US definition of "commercial" where if it has a large enough sticker value they count it as commercial anyway even if you make no money on it?

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#42118331)

If people use torrents to "record their favourite TV shows for later viewing", the law seem to punish you.

With Cable boxes making it harder if not impossible to do this, the law is not helping consumers.

It reminds me of a line from The Matrix:
  "How are you going to speak Mr. Anderson, when you have....no mouth?"

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118411)

Maybe in the FAQ, but not in the bill. While the digital lock bits are fairly terrible, there are some other benefits of the bill. From Geist's blog:

Canadians can also take greater advantage of fair dealing, which allows users to make use of excerpts or other portions of copyright works without the need for permission or payment. The scope of fair dealing has been expanded with the addition of three new purposes: education, satire, and parody.

Fair dealing now covers eight purposes (research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review comprise the other five). When combined with the Supreme Court of Canada's recent decisions that emphasized the importance of fair dealing as users' rights, the law now features considerable flexibility that allows Canadians to make greater use of works without prior permission or fear of liability.

The law also includes a unique user generated content provision that establishes a legal safe harbour for creators of non-commercial user generated content such as remixed music, mashup videos, or home movies with commercial music in the background. The provision is often referred to as the "YouTube exception", though it is not limited to videos.

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42118993)

Maybe in the FAQ, but not in the bill. While the digital lock bits are fairly terrible, there are some other benefits of the bill. From Geist's blog:

Canadians can also take greater advantage of fair dealing, which allows users to make use of excerpts or other portions of copyright works without the need for permission or payment. The scope of fair dealing has been expanded with the addition of three new purposes: education, satire, and parody.

Fair dealing now covers eight purposes (research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review comprise the other five). When combined with the Supreme Court of Canada's recent decisions that emphasized the importance of fair dealing as users' rights, the law now features considerable flexibility that allows Canadians to make greater use of works without prior permission or fear of liability.

The law also includes a unique user generated content provision that establishes a legal safe harbour for creators of non-commercial user generated content such as remixed music, mashup videos, or home movies with commercial music in the background. The provision is often referred to as the "YouTube exception", though it is not limited to videos.

True, provided you break no digital lock to do this

So you can't take a snippet of video from a DVD or Blu-Ray or other stream and use it for your fair dealing, which makes the exception fairly pointless.

So yes, the rights are enshrined in law. However, the digital lock part overrides that law - so even if you wanted to share a 30 second video, if it involves breaking a digital lock (again, no mention how "weak" the lock has to be, like DVDs), you can't do it.

So yeah, they're very generous. It's just you can't do anything with them because of the locks.

I suppose we can use the analog hole still as selective availability is still not around, yet.

And would connecting a device that converts protected content to unprotected format be considered a digital lock? I mean, if I take my blu-ray player, connect it via HDMI (&HDCP) to an HDFury (HDMI (with or without HDCP) to analog component video converter) and record that using a component video digitizer (e.g. Hauppage HD-PVR), did I break a lock?

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118429)

Re: the digital locks, it's incredibly stupid to the point where the minister who championed the law actually came out and said that odds are nobody would actually go after most people for doing that anyway.

The tools to break digital locks are still legal in Canada, after all. It's stupid that the restriction legally exists, but for that matter I'm pretty sure videotaping TV shows on cassette, which EVERYBODY did, was technically illegal until this latest copyright law passed. So keep that in mind.

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#42118807)

The tools to break digital locks are still legal in Canada, after all. It's stupid that the restriction legally exists, but for that matter I'm pretty sure videotaping TV shows on cassette, which EVERYBODY did, was technically illegal until this latest copyright law passed. So keep that in mind.

It was never illegal. Canadian copyright law has said that making a personal copy of copyrighted material has been legal since before VCR's and cassette recorders existed to begin with. What's illegal in Canada, until quite recently, is "making available". Distribution. If you were to use a duplicator/editor to remove the commercials and then hand out copies of the recording at the local flea market, then you'd be up the creek for copyright infringement, but never if you were to simply record a broadcast for personal use.

The current law, C-11, changed that, but it's still nowhere near as onerous as US laws on the matter.

Re:That was the only "pro-consumer" thing in that (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 2 years ago | (#42118889)

... I'm pretty sure videotaping TV shows on cassette, which EVERYBODY did, was technically illegal until this latest copyright law passed. So keep that in mind.

If it's for personal use then it's called "time shifting" and it's legal in Canada. If it was illegal then every cable company that sells/rents a PVR is breaking the law.

Seems sensible to me... (3, Insightful)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#42118015)

There has to be something in place to prevent people from outright stealing of music and movies. Artists deserve to be compensated for their work. But this American notion of massive awards to greedy Hollywood studios has got to stop. Is it really fair to bankrupt people because they shared some songs? I never stole any songs but I am so disgusted with the whole thing that I have basically stopped buying music all together. It's mostly internet radio for me these days. I won't give those greedy bastards a nickel.

Re:Seems sensible to me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118299)

There has to be something in place to prevent people from outright stealing of music and movies. Artists deserve to be compensated for their work.

Why? I can't go to the bar without stumbling over 10 wannabe artists. On the internet I can find enough music that composers put out there for free to last me a lifetime. (Yes, there are plenty of people with music as a hobby that creates just for the sake of creation.)

With the massive supersaturation of the market, how could an artist expect to be compensated?
90% of them could stop making music and I wouldn't notice the difference.

Re:Seems sensible to me... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#42118509)

The record labels are bigger pirates than everyone on /. put together.

and now (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 2 years ago | (#42118083)

i say unto you hollystupid go fuckin try to sue me i guarantee you the court cost will be more then 5 grand
and ill hshare every whay i know how to make you pay in court
NOT to mention preying on us disabled well the msot maybe 5 grand but at once you can only get 50$ a month so all those lawyers fees you better want to wait for it.

Re:and now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118207)

I see someone forgot to take their meds.
 
Go back to sleep, little chronoss2008... let the adults talk.

DRM is a failed business model (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#42118129)

companies that pursue drm are really after control they can never have. GOG.com sold the Witcher 2 completely drm free on their site when it was released, but the version posted by pirates hours after its release was a cracked drm version bought in a store. Companies should focus on making their Customers happy instead of chasing people that are not going to buy their product even if there is no other way to get it.

Re:DRM is a failed business model (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118571)

DRM is by definition, and I mean by capitalist definition, a failed idea. The main reason is that it makes a product that is already hard to sell even less desirable to the customer.

Commercial software is competing with itself. Well, actually, with its counterfeit/copied counterpart. The prospective user has two choices to acquire the software, either buy a legitimate copy or produce an illegal copy. The advantage of the latter is obviously the price. And it's hard to impossible to compete with free on price. Add now that the average user neither understands nor cares about copyright and the chance of getting caught being slim to nil and we can see why the "legal" part can be, at least on the "fear of being caught and punished" part, ignored.

So what legitimate software can compete at is quality. If the customer can sensibly expect the legitimate software to work better than the ripped copy, that's a sales point. That's actually the selling point in everything but software. When I buy a car from a legitimate dealer, I have warranty and I get support, I might even have extended warranties, I will get informed if something is wrong with their car software and they'll replace it for free... no such luck if you got that car from a shady dealer in an alley behind the dumpers. And let's even imagine for a moment that nobody is missing that car and wants it back.

If I buy a hard drive from a contract dealer in my country, I will probably have something close to lifetime warranty, and believe me, a 3 years warranty on HDs (like WD used to give) is a very good value, since the chance that more than zero of the 8 HDs in the RAID will fail is almost 1. Or, in other words, I had to replace and RMA 4 of the 8 HDs I had. I don't blame WD, since the stress on those HDs was pretty tough, but they exchanged them without any troubles and hassle free. Think I would have gotten the same deal if I got them from some street dealer? I think not.

With software, though, it's all backwards. Buying the original, legitimate copy nets you a worse item than the counterfeit, ripped one. With the P2P copy you install the game, apply the crack and play it. With the legitimate copy you install the game, search for a cd key, create an account with the maker of the game, log in 100 times because their authentication servers are swamped during release times, hope and pray that nothing goes wrong during the locking of the cd key to your account so you don't have to find out how to contact their customer support and convince them that you actually bought the game but their stupid registration system barfed and locked you out, start the game a few times until their auth server responds, play, then suddenly crash, not because the game is buggy but because you lost contact with their auth server (hope you saved or that last hour you played... byebye).

You get the idea, I know I'm preaching the choir. I just wish those overpaid idiots on top of the game producer's ivory tower would catch on.

Another way to limit liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118209)

Go for a walk in the park and talk to people instead of downloading Transformers VII*.

* that's the one with the credits that explode, and then that explosion explodes into two smaller explosions.

Re:Another way to limit liability (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42118527)

Go for a walk in the park and talk to people instead of downloading Transformers VII*.

* that's the one with the credits that explode, and then that explosion explodes into two exponentially larger explosions shaped like boobs.

FTFY.

This is Micheal Bay we're talking about, after all.

There are other costs to lawsuits (2)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#42118239)

I approve any measure designed to restrain judgments to something fair and reasonable.

However, there are more costs to a lawsuit than the judgment.

First, a lawsuit is a public event in which the participants are publicly identified. That's on your "Google record" for life.

Next, it's a really stressful event. I think most people would rather perform surgery on themselves than go through a lawsuit.

Finally, it's going to affect how people respond to you while it's going on. Someone who's currently in litigation has a stigma around them.

So while this is a good thing in part, it may be addressing the smallest part of the actual cost of the lawsuit.

Re:There are other costs to lawsuits (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42119317)

Having been through a lawsuit that ended up costing almost $40k in legal fees, I can certainly agree with most of your points. At the same time, unlike the lawsuit I was in, which could have ended up costing me somewhere in the neighborhood of $200k-$300k (it was a property/estate dispute), the cap here is $5000. The likelihood of the level of dispute that I had is very small indeed. I would think it likely that there will be few lawsuits, and instead lots of letters with settlements of $100-$500. If there is no potential for destructive awards to the plaintiff, I think it unlikely there will ever be that many cases.

Won't happen in the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118311)

Our politicians are to corrupt, too non-caring, and too much in the pocket of Hollywood and other Corporations to enact legislation like this. The only way this will happen in the US is if someone takes their case to the Supreme Court and the Judges vote against these outrageous fines. Even then I wouldn't ever expect the max fine to be anywhere close to $5000, more like $50-$100,000.00 instead of the millions Hollywood now gets for 24 songs or a few movie titles.

Just Extradite and Prosecute Instead (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 years ago | (#42118327)

If Canada agrees to the same extradition agreements like the UK has with the US, the IRAA/MPAA Gestapo might prefer to persue criminal prosecution as opposed to civil litigation. Never mind that the laws aren't in place, they can lobby efficiently to get those laws in place relatively quickly.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/11/28/1334200/tvshack-founder-signs-deal-avoiding-extradition?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed [slashdot.org]

Re:Just Extradite and Prosecute Instead (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#42119225)

1. You can't extradite somebody to a foreign country for a crime that was committed domestically. If the crime was committed on Canadian soil, and is a crime under Canadian law, then it will be tried in a Canadian court. Canada also has a long-standing policy of not extraditing accused criminals to countries where they would face a penalty that is significantly more severe than what they would face domestically. (we don't extradite murder suspects to the US because of the death penalty, for example).

2. The "lobby" power is severely limited by conflict of interest laws in Canada. Specifically:
- corporate donations are not allowed at all
- personal donations are limited to just over $1000/year
- campaigns have a spending limit that would give the US Presidential campaign managers giggle fits ($125,000 per electoral district, which has to actually be spent in that electoral district... can't ignore one riding and spent $250k in another, and smaller ridings have lower caps)
- all election financing is a matter of public record whether the candidate wins or not, must be submitted within 30 days of the end of a campaign, and is available to anybody who asks. (publicly searchable on the Internet, or you can call Elections and ask them to send you a physical copy)

To put it perspective, the mayor of Toronto is currently going through a legal battle that will likely end his career, for violating the conflict of interest laws. What did he do? He asked a lobbyist to consider giving a donation to a charity that he works with, which buys football equipment for underprivileged kids. The lobbyist gave a donation (less than $3000 total), and the money went directly to the kids without touching the mayor's hands. The mayor was given an opportunity to return the money, and he declined. This, in Canada, is bad enough to end the career of a politician (who, admittedly, is a complete jackass, but that doesn't factor in to the decision), because it represents a conflict of interest.

What is "commercial"? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#42118385)

Looks nice on paper, but what is the definition of "commercial"? For-profit or "damage being high enough" (with damage being and arbitrary number pulled out of the plaintiff's rear end)?

Rooting for You Hosers (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42118561)

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Supreme Law of the Land, not to be superseded by anything but another Amendment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Good luck to you, Canadians. Here's hoping your judges are far less "activist" than our own.

Election Finance Laws (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about 2 years ago | (#42118669)

See what can happen when your country has sensible election and political campaign finance laws.

omg (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42118689)

Holy shit they had some commonsense for a change!

"distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial infringement."

Why is it OK to steal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42118849)

I honestly don't see how stealing a blu-ray quality rip of a movie via torrent is any different from stealing a blu-ray from a store.

Sure, some might say that they use torrents of movies to evaluate whether or not they like the product, and if they don't like it they won't buy the product, but they still have possession of the product regardless. That's like stealing a bag of popcorn, eating it, and then saying you don't like it so you won't pay for it.

Really, the only things I can imagine that companies would WANT to have torrented are things that have addictive properties and will guarantee sales of some sort in the future, like slot machine games, gay pornography, or copies of Windows.

Standard scare tactic (2)

redelm (54142) | about 2 years ago | (#42118997)

This latest round of "possible crackdown" stories _is_ the story itself -- frighten the masses into obedience. The legal system can only deal with a limited number of objectionable people. The rest have to be frightened/corralled into compliance.

With some norms, most people are happy to comply because they see the reason and rationale for it. Even if they don't like someone, most are unlikely to attack or steal from them because someone else is likely to do the same to them. The law can [barely] deal with the exceptions. When exceptions become common, as in the US alcohol prohibilition, and drug prohibition [borderline], the law fails in spectacular and mission-jeopardizing manner [discretion/corruption].

With something as ephemeral and esoteric as copyright monopoly grants, it is very unclear who is being harmed and by how much. Sure, it is easy to see harm from unauthorized identical copies being sold at retail. But far less obvious for downloading a TV episode/song that was broadcast yesterday.

So the monopoly grant-holders have to frighten everyone. Sometimes by head-on-pike examples.

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