Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/18)

Court orders release of suspected illegal downloaders' names

In a groundbreaking decision, Canada’s Federal Court has ordered Internet service provider TekSavvy Solutions to release the names and addresses of more than 2,000 suspected illegal downloaders to international production company Voltage Pictures LLC, says Toronto lawyer James Zibarras.

While the ruling deals with movies, it is poised to affect “millions of Canadians who listen to pirated music or download pirated TV shows onto hard drives,” says Zibarras, partner with Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP and head of the firm’s civil and commercial litigation group. Read Globe and Mail Read Canadian Press Watch CTV

Voltage – represented by Zibarras and associate John Philpott – is a Hollywood production company behind films including The Hurt Locker, which won six Oscars, and the upcoming American Heist.

“Illegal downloading has been uncontrolled since the 2006 decision of the Court of Appeal in BMG,” says Zibarras. “The Federal Court has now reiterated that illegal downloading will not be shielded and that Internet service providers will, in the appropriate circumstances, be ordered to release downloaders' information. This will have far-reaching effects.”

The ruling comes eight months after the case was heard in Montreal, and removes a mechanism that Canadians have enjoyed but Americans lost long ago — being able to hide behind an Internet Protocol address, the Vancouver Sun reports, noting the IP address is the only link forensic software companies in Canada had to identify illegal downloaders.

The decision would give copyright holders the ability to identify copyright infringers and use that information to enforce their copyright, the Sun reports.

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