File sharing lawsuits involving the movie the Hurt Locker have been big news in the United States for months as tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed. It now appears that the lawsuits are coming to Canada as the Federal Court of Canada has paved the way for the identification of subscribers at Bell Canada, Cogeco, and Videotron who are alleged to have copied the movie. Late last month the court ordered the three ISPs to disclose the names and addresses of subscribers linked to IP addresses alleged to have copied the movie. The ISPs were given two weeks to respond and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses. In reaching its decision, the court cited the BMG Canada v. Doe case, the last major Canadian case involving peer-to-peer file sharing lawsuits. That case opened the door to further lawsuits, though it established some privacy safeguards. In this instance, the court cited PIPEDA as evidence that the personal information can be disclosed as well as federal court rules for the legitimacy of the claim and the necessity of acquiring the information for the lawsuit to proceed. There is no indication that the ISPs challenged the order or that there was an opportunity for a public interest intervention as was the case in the earlier CRIA lawsuits.
Michael Geist – Michael Geist’s Blog
[Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He can be reached by email at mgeist @ uottawa dot ca]