Setback for Bell Canada in $400m Movie Piracy Lawsuit


Setback for Bell Canada in $400m Movie Piracy Lawsuit

Canada’s ‘Notice and Notice’ regime requires ISPs to forward infringement notices to subscribers, typically those linked to the sharing of movies via BitTorrent. U.S. movie companies say that since Bell Canada failed to forward around 40,000 notices, they are now entitled to CAD$400m in damages. Bell’s response included allegations of copyright misuse, abuse of process, champerty and maintenance and unlawful means conspiracy. That hasn’t gone according to plan.

warningOn January 2, 2015, a new system designed to assist copyright holders and better protect consumers went live in Canada.

Under the ‘Notice and Notice’ regime, ISPs are required to forward rightsholders’ copyright infringement notices to subscribers, in most cases those linked to the downloading and sharing of movies using BitTorrent. While generally considered a step forward, some warned that aggressive rightsholders would leverage the system to benefit themselves.

Late 2018, after some companies did exactly that, the Canadian government amended the Copyright Act to prohibit the inclusion of settlement demands in warning notices. Since then, rightsholders have filed dozens of applications at Federal Court to obtain the identities of tens of thousands of subscribers – many of whom were alleged notice recipients – so they could be sent cash settlement demands.

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