Canadian Government Looks to End Illegal Downloading of Movies, TV Shows, Etc.

Piracy. Everyone probably knows what it is, and many have done it. Illegally downloading movies, TV shows, music, etc, is commonplace throughout the world. Other countries have attempted to implement legislation to prevent it. The United States has the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Britain also has legislation to hopefully deal with the issue as well. In both nations however, laws don’t seem to be stopping anyone from illegally downloading copyrighted content.

Piracy has been a concern for a number of years, and that concern is growing. Recently, the Pirate Bay was taken down by law enforcement. The Interview, a controversial new movie that almost wasn’t released was pirated 200,000 times in one day.

In Canada, the “Copyright Modernization Act” took effect on January 1st, 2015. The new act will hopefully give copyright holders a new way to protect their content from illegal downloading. The new act now gives copyright holders the ability to request  Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to relay warnings to those participating in illegal downloading. (When I say request, I mean ISP’s really don’t have much of a choice in the matter.) In the event the activity continues, the copyright holder could pursue legal action.

The good news is, your privacy is safe. ISP’s aren’t required to hand over your name in the event you do get a warning for illegal downloading, but that changes in the event of a lawsuit. They may have to make you name available in the event of a lawsuit.

Although on paper, this sounds like a wonderful idea to end piracy; by scaring people with the treat of legal action, will it really work? Probably not. Laws in other nations haven’t really stopped anyone, so why would Canada, which is behind when it comes to this kind of legislation in the first place, be any better? A notice will probably scare some people away from piracy, but others will probably scoff at the warning. The warning itself isn’t legal action, although it looks like copyright holders may threaten legal action if the activity continues.

A better way to solve this problem is making legal options more available and affordable. Canada has Netflix, but a large majority of Canadians use proxy’s to access the US version because of a lack of shows they really want to see. Netflix is now combating international users who are using proxy’s, which will probably drive many people back to illegal downloading. When it comes to illegal downloading, it may be a very similar root cause as to why so many Netflix users use proxy’s in the first place. Spotify, Rdio, they’ll both pretty good services. I use Spotify, and have no problems with it, but it too doesn’t have all of the songs I’d like to see there and I’d imagine there are many others out there who have encountered this issue from time to time. This comes down to licencing at the end of the day; the same goes for Netflix and any other service that legally offers streaming of copyrighted content. But, certain things not being available on these services drives many people to piracy, especially considering just how expensive it gets to individually purchasing every movie, TV show and song you want to see or listen to. Wider availability of this content on legal streaming services would probably stop many people from pirating content. Sending people notices probably won’t. Legislation has proven ineffective elsewhere, and there is nothing special in this act that is going to make it any different in Canada.

The fight against piracy has to be up to the private companies that produce the content in question, not government. The government can dream up as much legislation as they want, but they can’t do anything about the availability of this content. Better availability and affordability is where the answer lies in the fight against online piracy.

What do you think? Will this be an effective piece of legislation that will stop people from pirating content online, or was it a waste of government resources?

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