If you received a piece of registered mail from a movie studio looking to sue you for illegally downloading a TV show such asÂ Game of Thrones, a Canadian privacy lawyer in Nova Scotia says you need to take it seriously.
If ignored, there could be a high price to pay.
“They can get a default judgment and they can go for the maximum, which is $5,000,”Â David Fraser told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet on Tuesday.
“And that could become a lienÂ on your house, that could become garnishment of your salary and it’s not something you can just hope will go away.”
For years, studios have been cracking down on people illegally downloading shows and movies by targeting suspects throughÂ sending notices to their internet providers.
UnderÂ Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act, internet service providers have to track the IP addresses of users who are illegally downloading.
How names, addresses are revealed
Now,Â studios are identifying anÂ IP address, suingÂ the unknown person associated with that address andÂ then getting a Norwich order through the Federal Court of Canada against the internet service provider to obtainÂ the customer’s name and address.
FraserÂ said his firm has been contacted by a number of individualsÂ who have received aÂ letter. He said the letters can appear to be “a little bit sketchy,” but they are legitimate.
They’re being sent to the homes of the IP address holders, but are addressed to “John Doe” from the movie studio. The statement of claim says “John Doe,” but the letter accompanying it is to the intended defendant.
“And so you’re thinking, I’m not John Doe. But when you go through it, it’s obviously full of a whole lot of legalese and comes with a cover letter from a law firm in Toronto saying that youÂ are, in fact, being sued,” Fraser said.
From there, Fraser said the IP address holder is told in the letter that he or she has 30 days from the date of receiving the letter and statement of claimÂ to file a defence.
If the IP address holder doesn’t file a defence, Fraser saidÂ the studio could get a default judgment against themÂ and then collect their damages.
A a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/torrent?src=hashamp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”#torrent/a of lawsuits are descending on Canadians accused of online file sharing. If you get one of these, it can’t be ignored. You’re actually being sued for a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/copyright?src=hashamp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”#copyright/a infringement. More info here: a href=”https://t.co/RmqKvAA0cV”https://t.co/RmqKvAA0cV/a brbr(Previous tweet had a broken link) a href=”https://t.co/Zy5v1MhGlO”pic.twitter.com/Zy5v1MhGlO/a
Fraser said the letters are targeting users of BitTorrentÂ sites, which allow people to download chunks of a movie or TV show from multiple sources.
“When you’re using that protocol, you’re also one of the 50 [sharing it] … which means that you’re exposing your internet protocol address, your IP address associated with your home network, to anybody who wants to see it,” Fraser said.
“And that includes movie studios who hire companies to keep track of what IP addresses are associated with downloading and sharing their content.”
Fraser said he suspects studios are taking this approach to reduce the availability of this content online.
“And if they can do that by a chilling effect, by putting the fear of God and litigation into people’s hearts, then kind of mission accomplished I would think from their point of view,” he said.
Article source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/movie-studios-bittorrent-users-lawsuits-norwich-order-1.5100700?cmp=rss