Notice and Notice Regime
As of January 2, 2015, CityWest is required by Canadian law to comply with a “notice-and-notice regime” for Internet copyright infringement.
Enshrined into law through the Copyright Modernization Act, content creators can now compel Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to contact customers alleged to be infringing on copyright. This may include, but not be limited to, illegal downloading of music, video, and computer software.
To find Internet users who may be infringing on copyright, content creators look for the alleged offender’s IP address. Since these content creators typically don’t have any information beyond the IP address, they rely on ISPs like CityWest to deliver their notice of infringement for them.
In short, as an ISP, we’re now legally required to forward these notices from the content creators to our customers.
How it works
Here are the basic steps of how the “notice-and-notice regime” will work for CityWest customers:
- Content creator sends CityWest a notice, usually in the form of an email, identifying the IP address in question
- CityWest determines which customer has used that IP address, based on the date & time in the notice
- CityWest forwards the notice to that customer
In other words, CityWest is just the messenger. We are under no legal obligation to suspend or cut off your Internet access. (Although, now is probably a good time to remind you of our Acceptable Use Policy.)
There are some conditions placed upon content creators when they send their notice. They must provide the following details:
- Their name and address
- The work or subject matter that they allege has been infringed
- Their interest in the work (if they’re the author, owner, licensee, etc.)
- The IP address where the infringement took place
- The date and time of the infringement
If their notice is missing any of that information, CityWest is not obligated to pass it along to our customers.
These regulations apply for any activity on your personal network. So, if someone else accesses your network through your router and downloads illegal content, you will be the one getting the notice.
CityWest does not monitor the online activities of individual customers. Although we endeavour to make sure our customers comply with our Acceptable Use Policy, we are not concerned with how our customers use the Internet. (We feel we should mention that we encourage all our customers to obey the law.)
The only reason we’re involved in the “notice-and-notice regime” is because we have customer information related to the IP address. Content creators have the IP address, but not customer information, so they ask us to pass along any notices regarding illegal copyright infringements.
This new law does not obligate us to provide content creators with customer information. We would only provide this information if we were forced to by a court order.
How do the Americans do it?
Some notices you may receive will recommend that CityWest prevent further downloads of their content. As stated, under Canadian law, we are only required to pass the notice along to our customers, so we will not typically shut down your account.
The harsher language may be due to the fact that many content creators are American, and legislation in the U.S. is more preventive than informative. If we were in the U.S., and CityWest received one of these notices from a content creator, we would have to remove or disable the allegedly infringing materials from our customer’s account.
As the Canadian government has stated, the “notice-and-notice regime” is a “made-in-Canada” solution to Internet copyright infringements. The law is intended to “discourage online copyright infringement by providing copyright owners with a tool to enforce their rights, while also respecting the interests and freedoms of users.” (From the July 2, 2014 issue of Canada Gazette Part 2.)
So no matter what the notice says, we won’t remove your Internet access. However, once we get one of these notices, we are required to retain records relating to infringement for a minimum of six months, in case the content creator decides to pursue court action.