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Canadian record industry goes after ISPs

Articles in related categories
Intellectual property and copyright
Music related
TORONTO - The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) confirmed today that it has taken concrete legal steps to bring lawsuits against major online music pirates.

CRIA filed court orders this week to require five Canadian Internet service providers to disclose the identities of large scale pirates who have been openly and illegally distributing thousands of digital music files over public networks.

CRIA filed motions in the Federal Court of Canada to identify large-scale infringers using Internet services operated by Bell/Sympatico, Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications, Telus Corporation and Vid�otron Telecom.

As reported by www.cablecastermagazine.com yesterday, Shaw has already said it will fight the order. "We intend to ask the Court to preserve the privacy of our customers," said Jim Shaw, the company's CEO. "We are committed to protecting our customers' privacy."

"Over and above that, we and all other companies operating in Canada are required, under the Federal privacy statute and other laws, to protect the privacy of our respective customers," he noted.

The recording industry association had announced last December that it was preparing to launch lawsuits.

"CRIA and its members are taking action against uploaders only and the most egregious examples. These are individuals who are each illegally distributing hundreds if not thousands of music copyright files to millions of strangers. Clearly these people are blatant exploiters of artists' careers and their music, and have no apparent interest in where the music is going to come from in the future," said Brian Robertson, President of CRIA.

"The Canadian music industry has experienced retail sales losses of in excess of $425 million since 1999," observed Mr. Robertson. "The resulting fall-out both in business and human terms, has been extensive. It includes average staff layoffs of 20% and more and the probability of a dramatic reduction in opportunities for Canadian artists and Canadian music.

"Artists and record company employees are not the only Canadians whose livelihoods are at risk," Robertson continued. "More than 45,000 individuals are directly or indirectly dependent upon the health of the recording industry in Canada, including those in songwriting, recording studios, manufacturing, retailing, broadcasting, music publishing, concert promotion, management and many other primary and support services."

"We are following the standard due process requirements of the law to identify lawbreakers," said Richard Pfohl, CRIA's General Counsel. He added that privacy laws specifically provide for the disclosure of lawbreakers' identities in the case of a court order. "Lawbreakers cannot expect to hide behind a mask of anonymity. We are confident that the court will grant the requested orders," added Mr. Pfohl.

Mr. Pfohl noted that Internet service providers are routinely required to disclose customer information pursuant to valid court orders. People committing crimes by using a phone or an Internet service cannot remain anonymous and avoid being brought to justice.

Canada's recording industry has several initiatives designed to meet the technological challenges posed by illegal downloading and file sharing: from the innovative and ongoing Value of Music public awareness campaign aimed at the early teen demographic to direct 'instant messages' to unauthorized file-sharing service users, to the creation of new legal online business models like www.puretracks.com and www.archambaultzik.ca.

The www.archambaultzik.ca portal is owned by Vid�otron, so expect it to comply with the court order.

"Only after making extensive efforts to raise public awareness about the damaging effects of file sharing did CRIA decide to undertake litigation," adds Mr. Pfohl.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of Canadian companies that create, manufacture and market sound recordings. In all they represent 95% of the sound recordings that are manufactured and sold in Canada.
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