Film Studios Tackling BitTorrents
Unless you have $5,000 in spare cash lying around, you had best not muck about with a letter of demand from a movie studio threatening legal action as a result of an illegal download or downloads. So says Canadian privacy lawyer David Fraser. What’s more, movie and television producers are well within their rights to not only claim compensation up to a max penalty of $5,000, but also to do whatever is necessary to secure payment, including the registration of a lien on fixed property or even a garnishee order against your salary.
According to the provisions enforced by Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act, all internet service providers (ISP’s) are required by law to track the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of those users guilty of illegally downloading movies, television series content, etc.
Its A New Day For Law Enforcement
Despite the existence of laws aimed at protecting intellectual ownership, those laws have not always been beacons of efficiency and for years, the illegal downloads industry has thrived. But thanks to a recent intensified crackdown on illegal downloads in Canada, studios have now started to sue those guilty of downloading content for which they have not paid, by obtaining federal court orders forcing ISPs to release the personal and address information of pin-pointed IP addresses identified as being guilty of illegal downloads.
Norwich lawyer Fraser says that his firm has been repeatedly contacted by various individuals wanting to know whether the letters of demand received via registered post are in actual fact real. The letters, says Fraser, do appear to be a bit sketchy, but are actually the real deal and not to be ignored.
Ignoring a court-ordained letter of demand ultimately leads to a summons followed by a default judgement against the recipient. From then on out, obtaining a lien or garnishee order for the recovery of the claimed penalty or fine is but a mere administrative formality.
It Won’t Just “Go Away”
Once in receipt of the letter, the recipient has a period of 30 days during which to file a notice of intention to defend the action. Failing to respond will immediately after the 30 days have lapsed, lead to the ultimate goal of legally claiming and collecting the money from the recipient.
The letters in question are mostly directed at users of BitTorrent sites making use of what is referred to as peer-to-peer sharing of content. What this means is that various portions of a movie or television episodes are downloaded from a variety of personal computers hosting the content.
It’s important to remember that those who share content are considered to be as guilty as those who download the shared content. By now finally putting threats to practice, movie and television studios are hoping to achieve actual results in terms of curbing illegal downloads; something that was up until recently considered to have been equal to fighting a losing battle.