Voltage Pictures, the company that threatened to sue “tens of thousands” of people in the U.S. who illegally downloaded The Hurt Locker, has brought its act to Canada.
Here in Canada, it’s kind of a national hobby to point out all the ways in which we’re different (better) than our pals to the south. But it looks like we may soon have to scratch one of them – the absence of ultra-punitive copyright infringement litigation – off the list.
Ontario-based ISP TekSavvy recently informed its customers that Voltage Pictures LLC has requested information regarding possible copyright infringement claims against them. An action filed last week revealed that Voltage had hired forensic investigation firm Canipre Inc. to “investigate whether Voltage’s cinematographic works were being copied and distributed in Canada over peer to peer networks using the BitTorrent Protocol,” and obviously the investigation found that those works were being shared. Now Voltage is demanding customer information related to approximately 2000 IP addresses that were discovered to be sharing nine Voltage films between September 1 and October 31.
TekSavvy, to its credit, has refused to hand over the information without a court order, but a court order could be coming shortly, as Voltage is headed to a Toronto court on December 17 to get one. Assuming it’s granted, Voltage will begin its legal action in earnest, as part of which it seeks statutory damages or actual damages to be proven at trial, plus all profits earned by the illegal firesharing, damages for “conversion, unlawful interference with economic relations and unjust enrichment,” special damages and, on top of all that, “aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages in the amount of $10,000.” That’s per defendant, by the way.
Maclean’s blogger Jesse Brown noted that in a 2011 interview on the question of updated copyright laws in Canada, Heritage Minister James Moore dismissed concerns about U.S.-style copyright lawsuits coming to Canada. “I don’t agree… It’s not an industry’s business to go out there and sue their customers,” he said at the time. “The days of Metallica going after filesharing sites are over ten years old. There’s a new mentality.”
Or perhaps there isn’t.