p2pnet.net News:- Canada is about to follow America’s lead by using heavy-weight legal intimidation tactics against Canadians who share music online.
The CRIA, Canada’s version of Big Music’s RIAA, has been instructed to start pressuring ISPs in an attempt to force them into revealing the identities of people the record labels claim are infringing copyrights.
What’s described as “sophisticated Internet surveillance technology” will trace “high-volume music traders,” says The Toronto Star here.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) recently ramped up its vendetta against Americans and has sued, or wants to sue, close to 1,000 people, mostly teenagers but also children and senior citizens.
Stacked against the estimated 60 million online music lovers in the US, the number is insignificant. But, boosted by a multi-million-dollar record label PR campaign and blanket coverage by the mainstream US media, the RIAA sue ‘em all campaign has become a major issue.
The RIAA was until recently improperly using subpoenas it gained under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) to threaten ISPs, hoping to compel them to reveal names. Its attempts met, and are still meeting, with stiff legal resistance and after losing the Verizon case, the RIAA is now being forced to use due process.
Among the ISPs being attacked by the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) is high-speed cable company Shaw Communications Inc, based in Alberta.
“Shaw did not say how many of its customers were affected, but was the only company yesterday to declare it would go to Federal Court to fight for customer privacy,” says the Star, quoting chief executive Jim Shaw as saying:
“We believe this application amounts to a civil search warrant, and we do not think that the music companies’ application should override our responsibility in law to protect the rights of our customers to maintain their privacy.”
CRIA lawsuits will, “target high-volume music traders – people who store several thousand MP3 song files on their computers and make them available through the Internet for others to download,” says the story, going on:
“Bell Canada, Rogers Cable, Telus Corp. and Shaw Communications Inc. are among major Internet service providers being told to expect federal court orders early next week that would require them to identify Internet subscribers who are allegedly pirating this music.”
At least 20 people “are being pursued” and CRIA president Brian Robertson said the music industry owned trade organ has spent the past three months gathering evidence on individuals who have more than 3,000 copyrighted songs in their computers.
“Using sophisticated Internet surveillance technology, the association has tracked computers – identified online through their Internet protocol or ‘IP’ addresses – that are actively trading copyrighted songs,” says the Star. “The next step is to match those IP addresses with subscriber information so the alleged pirates can be identified.”
Whether or not identities unearthed in this way would stand up in court is a very big question. Despite the fact the RIAA has sued almost 1,000 victims, no one has ever stood up against them in court, preferring to settle rather than risk a battle with Big Music’s highly paid lawyers.
And the ‘sophisticated Internet surveillance technology’ too is highly suspect.
But, “Critics of the music industry say record labels will not gain sympathy by suing their own customers,” Howard Knopf, an Ottawa intellectual property lawyer, says in the Star report. ‘
“Real live kids and their families should not become collateral damage in test cases where the law is uncertain and the industry is desperately seeking scapegoats.”
Does any of this look familiar?