Is it Crime to Download Movies in Canada?

August 23, 2016
 Toronto Defence Lawyers
  • A copyright owner has the exclusive rights under the Copyright Act to communicate the work to the public. Unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted material is prohibited under the Copyright Act. Therefore, downloading infringing copies of copyright-protected movies is illegal.
  • Section 3 of the Copyright Act sets out rights included in copyrighted material:
  • For the purposes of this Act, copyright, in relation to a work, means the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever, to perform the work or any substantial part thereof in public or, if the work is unpublished, to publish the work or any substantial part thereof, and includes the sole right
 (a) to produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work,
 (b) in the case of a dramatic work, to convert it into a novel or other non-dramatic work,
 (c) in the case of a novel or other non-dramatic work, or of an artistic work, to convert it into a dramatic work, by way of performance in public or otherwise,
(d) in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, to make any sound recording, cinematograph film or other contrivance by means of which the work may be mechanically reproduced or performed,
 (e) in the case of any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, to reproduce, adapt and publicly present the work as a cinematographic work,
 (f) in the case of any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, to communicate the work to the public by telecommunication,
 (g) to present at a public exhibition, for a purpose other than sale or hire, an artistic work created after June 7, 1988, other than a map, chart or plan,
(h) in the case of a computer program that can be reproduced in the ordinary course of its use, other than by a reproduction during its execution in conjunction with a machine, device or computer, to rent out the computer program,
 (i) in the case of a musical work, to rent out a sound recording in which the work is embodied, and
(j) in the case of a work that is in the form of a tangible object, to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the tangible object, as long as that ownership has never previously been transferred in or outside Canada with the authorization of the copyright owner,
and to authorize any such acts.

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  • Since January 2, 2015, The Copyright Modernization Act forces Internet Service Providers to send a notice to downloaders who are identified by copyright holders for unproven allegation of infringements of the Copyright Act. There is a $5000 limit to what a copyholder can sue for non-commercial infringements. For commercial infringement, the limit is $20,000 per infringement.
  • If you receive a notice of an alleged infringement, it is because the copyright owner alleges your Internet Protocol (IP) address being involved in conduct that infringes their copyright. This does not automatically mean that you have in fact infringed their copyrighted material or the copyright holder will sue you.
  • This notice is merely an allegation and is separate from any lawsuit for copyright infringement. American copyright fines and penalties are not applicable in Canada.
  • The copyright holder does not directly have your information, just your IP address. The copyright owner identifies the alleged infringement by an IP address, then sends the notice of the alleged infringement to your Internet Service Provider. It is your Internet Service Provider which then forwards the notice to the subscribed person using that IP address at the time of the alleged infringement.
  • The notice must contain information to help you understand the details of allegation. The notice must state
  • the claimant’s name and address
  • specify the alleged infringement
  • the identify of the alleged copyright material and the claimant’s interest or right in that material
  • the location data of the alleged infringement (for example the web address or internet address)
  • date and time of the alleged infringement
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