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TekSavvy to name subscribers linked to alleged downloading of films

Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press

TekSavvyTORONTO - A Canadian internet service provider has been ordered to hand over the names and addresses of about 2,000 customers who are alleged to have downloaded movies online.

A federal court decision released Thursday compels Chatham based TekSavvy to identify the customers allegedly linked to downloads of films by the U.S. production company Voltage Pictures, which is behind the likes of “The Hurt Locker,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Don Jon.”

But while the court sided with Voltage’s efforts to go after copyright violators, it sought to protect against the company acting “inappropriately in the enforcement of its rights to the detriment of innocent internet users.”

“On the facts of this case, there is some evidence that Voltage has been engaged in litigation which may have an improper purpose. However, the evidence is not sufficiently compelling for this court at this juncture in the proceeding to make any definitive determination of the motive of Voltage,” wrote judge Kevin Aalto.

Aalto ordered that before Voltage can send a letter to the alleged downloaders, it must return to court to get the wording of its communications cleared by a case management judge.

“In my view, the order herein balances the rights of Internet users who are alleged to have downloaded the copyrighted works against the rights of Voltage to enforce its rights in those works,” Aalto wrote.

“In order to ensure there is no inappropriate language in any demand letter sent to the alleged infringers, the draft demand letter will be provided to the court for review.

“Any correspondence sent by Voltage to any subscriber shall clearly state in bold type that no court has yet made a determination that such subscriber has infringed or is liable in any way for payment of damages.”

Updates to the federal Copyright Act in 2012 capped damages for non-commercial copyright infringement at $5,000.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

  • Henrie Timmers

    Why TekSavvy? Has anybody wondered about this? Why not Bell, or Cogeco? Could it be because Voltage knows that the big established companies have unlimited pockets to fight back with?
    I’ve been a computer programmer and user since 1970 and have seen this happen a few times in the last decade. Companies demand big bucks from small people and offer settlements, and those who can’t afford legal help or are frightened by the threat of court action have paid dearly for this BS.
    You know that people rely and depend on anonymity via the net, and this action will seriously hurt TekSavvy as it loses customers afraid of this kind of action. Which again is why Voltage didn’t go after Bell or Cogeco.
    We need to have our voices heard. It’s not the people downloading movies that are breaking the law, it is the people uploading them.
    Speak up now or lose your rights to privacy forever. If the get the right to check what you download, they also get the right to see what you do on your PERSONAL PRIVATE computer, including your banking activity!