File-sharing Canadians take steps to ward off CRIA

Two Canadian law students have come together to develop a Web-based association on Internet piracy in the wake of lawsuits recently filed by the recording industry.

Andy Kaplan-Myrth hopes the Canadian File-Sharing Legal Information Network

(CanFLI) will provide information on how individuals can protect their anonymity on online. Their Web site provides facts on file-sharing, private copyright laws and contact information to lawyers for those seeking legal representation.

Andy Kaplan-Myrth, a second-year student in law technology at the University of Ottawa, hopes to provide information on how individuals can protect their anonymity on the Internet. Their Web site provides facts on file-sharing, private copyright laws and contact information to lawyers for those seeking legal representation.

“”I really want to preserve the understanding of that value of anonymity on the Internet,”” said Kaplan-Myrth, who co-founded the organization with Telly Lebedev, a law student at the University of Windsor.

“”I’m hoping that we can provide some preliminary information. I hope that the information we give makes people see that the situation is different in Canada than the United States,”” added Kaplan-Myrth.

Canadian copyright laws are very different from the American piracy definitions. It is legal to copy files for private use onto your computer North of the border, but it is illegal to allow other users to upload files from your computer. American law dictates it is illegal to do both.

“”If you are only downloading, I think the authority is that you are home free…because we have a private copy exemption,”” said Kaplan-Myrth.

Ottawa lawyer Howard Knopf confirms the difference in Canadian copyright laws.

“”The copyright law clearly says that downloading for personal use is completely legal,”” he said. “”Uploading is not quite so clear cut. It’s not clear that in all cases there is not going be liability. It will depend on facts and how the law is interpreted.””

Currently, the Canadian Recording Industry Association has filed lawsuits against 29 Internet users who have shared hundreds or thousands of music files. The lawsuits have not been delivered, however, because CRIA has yet to obtain their personal information from ISPs.

Through a written statement provided to ITBusiness.ca, CRIA said it “”will be arguing before the court that the ISPs have the wherewithal to provide the names of the uploaders it seeks. We expect that the court will determine that the ISPs are required to do so, as they have in the past in similar circumstances.””

Don Blair, spokesperson for Bell Canada, said the company has already taken steps to inform seven of its customers sought by CRIA to seek legal representation.

“”Bell will comply with a valid court order,”” Blair said.

According to Knopf, a lawyer for Macera & Jarzyna, the case will set a precedent for Internet anonymity and how service providers share personal information.

“”People have an expectation of privacy on the Internet and that’s why this case is so important,”” he said.

CRIA has said it discovered the 29 alleged internet pirates by working through a peer-to-peer service file sharing capability to find those who were sharing thousands of songs from artists whose rights are registered with members of the organization.

 

For those feeling guilty of downloading free music, a new company, Puretracks, offers computer users a legitimate way to download music from their large music database, without the threat of being sued by CRIA or record companies. For $0.99 a song at Puretracks.com, users can pay for high quality music, knowing most of the money will be returned to the record companies and artists.

“”I do feel we offer a very valuable service, not to mention the issue of legality,”” said Derek van der Plaat, co-founder and co-owner of Puretracks.

“”I’m not a lawyer, but I agree in the sense that people who hold massive databases of music and allow people to take it, it’s a disadvantage to the artist. We focus on allowing people to do it the legal and right way,”” added van der Plaat.

Puretracks, a Canadian company owned by MoonTaxi Media, already boasts one million songs sold since the company began in the fall of 2003.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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