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RCMP Won't Go After Personal Filesharers 405

Posted by kdawson
from the sigh-of-relief-eh dept.
mlauzon writes "The RCMP announced that it will stop targeting people who download copyrighted material for personal use (Google translation). Their priority will be to focus on organized crime and copyright theft that affects the health and safety of consumers, such as copyright violations related to medicine and electrical appliances, instead of the cash flow of large corporations. Around the same time that the CRIA successfully took Demonoid offline, the RCMP made clear that Demonoid's users don't have to worry about getting prosecuted, at least not in Canada. 'Piracy for personal use is no longer targeted,' Noël St-Hilaire, head of copyright theft investigations of the RCMP, said in an interview. 'It is too easy to copy these days and we do not know how to stop it.'"
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RCMP Won't Go After Personal Filesharers

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  • The reason? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:46PM (#21317709)
    It was too hard to get the horses into people's bedrooms, basements, dorms, etc.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:50PM (#21317741)
    They won't chace Windows users because there's no mount. They will chase *nix users though.
  • by Elemenope (905108) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:51PM (#21317747)

    In a sudden outbreak of reason and common sense, a government has decided that its own people are not "the enemy". The US quickly responded that such subversive hippie-dippy communist ideas will not be tolerated on their doorstep.

    • by Watson Ladd (955755) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:01PM (#21317815)
      The US would have little choice. The UK has nukes and subs, and protects Canada.
    • I hope Canada has no financial ties with the US. [slashdot.org] Otherwise they'll find some punishing language buried in some upcoming bill tying the US's honoring those "ties" unless RCMP's come up with a "technology solution" to punish online file sharer's. Hmmm...some Commie Republocrat Demblican is probably trying to figure this out as we speak.
  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Informative)

    by RecoveredMarketroid (569802) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:53PM (#21317755)
    The RCMP don't speak for other police forces in Canada--in particular, the provincial police forces (e.g., the Ontario Provincial Police). While I suspect that they won't be aggressively pursuing individuals either, this is no guarantee. I believe the OPP has fairly extensive technology-related policing resources, but I can't substantiate that...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Provincial enforcement of federal statutes? Because that's what copyright is, in Canada.
      • Re:Unfortunately (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:25PM (#21318925) Homepage

        Provincial enforcement of federal statutes? Because that's what copyright is, in Canada.

        Copyright is a federal statute in Canada, which means that provincial legislatures don't have the power to change that statute. It doesn't affect the police; the Criminal Code is also a federal statute, and yet provincial and municipal police investigate murders (indictable offences) and shoplifting (summary offences) all the time.

        Generally, a police officer with jurisdiction in some area of Canada can exercise his powers to enforce any law that governs that area. Of course, the Calgary city police generally aren't going to allocate their resources to investigating crime in Edmonton, for example, but if they do, it might even be considered wilful obstruction of a peace officer for the Edmonton police to interfere.

    • Re:Unfortunately (Score:5, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:36PM (#21318081) Homepage
      The OPP only counts if you live in Ontario. There's a QPP for Quebec. None of the other provinces AFAIK have provincial police forces. They all depend on the RCMP. In some places, such as the far north, and other sparsely populated areas, the RCMP are the only police. Also, looking at this from a different angle, what I think they are saying is that the RCMP has bigger fish to fry. People that are much more dangerous. It's not worth the resources to hunt down personal file sharers, because they aren't hurting anybody. I imagine that the OPP would probably feel the same way. The local police might care about catching people doing petty crimes like this, but probably don't have the resources or technical expertise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You're forgetting municipal cops. Anyone who lives in almost any Canadian city would be arrested by the cops for that city, not the RCMP. This announcement really only affects the people who live in the boonies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by flyingfsck (986395)
        Other states have city police, which amounts to the same thing as the OPP, just more fragmented.

        Anyway, the social contract is between the people in a body politic. In a republic, the people make the law and if a law causes all people to break the law, then the law itself is broken.
      • The OPP only counts if you live in Ontario. There's a QPP for Quebec.

        Um... That's about 2/3 of Canada's population...

        Your point about other forces also thinking that they have 'bigger fish to fry' makes sense, to a degree. I agree with you-- it seems unlikely a force like the OPP will pursue individuals. On the other hand, political pressure (including that generated by industry lobbies) can potentially influence this, whether its getting the OPP to enforce it, or getting the RCMP/federal goverment to change their minds.

        Unfortunately, there is a key difference

    • by drcagn (715012)
      yeah, you know me!
  • Not possible. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PieSquared (867490) <isosceles2006@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:54PM (#21317765)
    'It is too easy to copy these days and we do not know how to stop it.'

    That's because there is no way to stop it. If I can look at a string of numbers, I can write them down somewhere else. If my computer looks at a string of numbers, *it* can write them down really, really fast somewhere else. And so it isn't possible to stop anyone from making a copy of a digital "work."

    You can shut down places where transfers occur, you can *try* to scare people into not copying... but you can't *stop* me from writing down all the 1's and 0's that make up your program or data except to stop me from reading it in the first place. And if you don't let anyone read it, it might as well not exist.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:55PM (#21317775)
    The RCMP resources are stretched thin like any police force anywhere. Its good to see that they have decided / realized that they have far more important things to do with those resources. Its the right move. I want violent crimes, family abuse, gang related issues, grow ops & drug related crime, and corporate fraud investigated, not children and families who listening to music they downloaded over the internet. I don't need my tax dollars protecting the interests of American megacorporations from children.

    Note that this doesn't mean filesharers now get a free pass; the recording industry is still free to prosecute what it views are attacks on its business, but it never should have been allowed to the use the RCMP to do it for them. And its good to see the RCMP come around.
    • by Rix (54095)
      You oppose punishing people who violate copyright in the privacy of their own homes, but you support punishing people who grow a plant in the privacy of their own homes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smallpaul (65919)

      gang related issues, grow ops & drug related crime

      It is the criminalization of normal human behaviour (mood altering plant consumption) that funds the gangs. Prosecuting drug buyers and sellers is much more insidious than prosecuting music copiers, because it delivers gangs a ready-made business model.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:56PM (#21317783) Homepage
    This is a bit ot but hasn't been reported here and my submission was rejected http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/news_events/news/Tariff22_07.jsp [socan.ca]
  • totalitarianism? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bukuman (1129741)

    Selective enforcement is a tool of totalitarianism.

    Maybe it's a 'good start', but ultimately the law has to be either changed of enforced.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      I think the same thing about speeding laws. The fact that you can often drive 120 km/h in a 100 km/h zone, and not get charged 99.9% of the time, yet at some point there will be some cop who needs to meet a quota, and can find hundreds of people to give a ticket to if they choose. I've always thought that speeding laws were stupid. I think they should actually set the speed limit as a limit, possibly with a small margin to account for errors in their readings, and in your speedometer reading. None of this
  • by Zeebs (577100)
    While we're deciding not to go after people for petty things: How about they stop going after people who commit truly victimless crimes like smoking a joint?

    Both will piss the United States off to the same extent.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:15PM (#21317919)
      We tried to decriminalize pot but the USians objected and we decided selling them stuff was more important.

      • by Zeebs (577100)
        Exactly. I attend the legalization march each year, most recently billed as "The Toronto Freedom Festival". You'd be hard pressed to find opposition to such a change outside of strict authoritarian circles. Even then their argument usually consists of "But it's illegal".
        • by Zeebs (577100)
          Argh, hate to reply to myself. I also wanted to mention the courts at various levels have repeatedly ruled possession laws unconstitutional but due to pressure and threats of economic punishment from the south the laws don't change.
    • by xtal (49134)
      Remember to ask just that when your friendly MP's come knocking. I always do.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:05PM (#21317843) Homepage Journal
    For profit piracy is wrong. Personal duplication/sharing is not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by stubear (130454)
      Personal duplication amongst friends might not be too bad but mass distribution via P2P apps is clearly wrong and just as harmful to the industries that are supported by the protections provided by intellectual property law.
      • by rlk (1089) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @10:37PM (#21318475)
        Just about every technological advance, by nature of its disruptiveness, harms some people and helps others, but that doesn't make it wrong. The entertainment industry can either fight a rearguard action to delay the inevitable, hurting a lot of people along the way, or embrace the reality that copying data is cheap and easy and find new ways to profit from the situation. It's always been the mark of a good business person that he or she finds opportunities rather than complaining about the situation. Right now it looks like EMI is starting to understand the situation; let's see how long it takes the rest of the industry (and the movie industry) to figure it out.

        If it turns out that a handful of mega-stars supported by large multinational companies is not the most efficient way to deliver entertainment, I see little loss to society as a whole, and it would surely be to the benefit of a much larger set of artists.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Myopic (18616)
          The entertainment industry can either fight a rearguard action to delay the inevitable, hurting a lot of people along the way, or embrace the reality that copying data is cheap and easy and find new ways to profit from the situation.

          Correction: the entertainment industry could have fought a rearguard action to delay the inevitable, or embrace reality...

          The fact is the industry made that decision in 1998 and 1999, when the Napster thing happened. It is now too late for that industry, they have caused themsel
      • Industries do not have any inherent right to exist. Is producing cars "clearly wrong" due to their effects on the buggy whip industry?
      • by Zanth_ (157695)
        It isn't clearly wrong and this is a major issue worldwide. It is "clearly wrong" in the eyes of the RIAA and their ilk, but not so to a good bunch of people, downloaders or not. Also, it is not harmful to an industry at large (say in this instance, the music industry) what is is harmful to the near racketeering-like setup the RIAA has with their "clients." The RIAA can no longer use their strongarm tactics to leverage ownership of works they never created. This liberation of the artists is AWESOME and
    • I'm curious about your idea. I'll try not to troll or flamebait but why do you think the latter is not wrong?

      I hope you'll agree that all intellectual works released commercially are for profit (on the part of the releaser). You say that if I grab a copy of a song/book/poem/knitting-pattern/MS Office 3000 Plus Plus and then resell it at the flea market that is wrong.

      But if I give a free copy to my buddy, that's not. Even though in both cases I'm causing for someone to get a copy without compensating the o

    • by trawg (308495)
      Arguably, "sharing" - giving people something for free which they would otherwise have to pay for - is indeed wrong.

      In the common context, "sharing" == "copyright infringement", which I think many people agree is still wrong. I think, however, most people can justify copyright infringement by thinking that a) the laws about all this stuff are MORE wrong and b) the business practices of the RIAA/MPAA/etc are also MORE wrong. That is, of course, when they bother to think about it at all.

      I sort of dislike the
  • Why was the RCMP *ever* involved in investigating copyright violation? I always thought (at least here in Canada, where we don't yet have a "DMCA" law) that violation of copyright was a civil infraction. I also thought that the police limited their investigations to criminal infractions.

    Of course, I could very well be totally wrong! :-P

    Any Canadian lawyers know of the legislation that our police were acting upon when they were involved?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      You're wrong. The RCMP has investigated copyright infringement for some time. I remember some people getting busted for copying Apple II software and the mounties letting them off if they paid twice for everything they copied.

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:10PM (#21317883) Homepage
    You think you're cool 'cause you're all "rational" and stuff. 
  • How could the CRIA have a leg to stand on in shutting down demonoid when downloading music without permission from the copyright holder is legal in Canada?
  • Another sudden outbreak of common sense?

    Now I'm worried. Do RCMP count as horsemen?

  • Code is Law! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:29PM (#21318025)
    ...'It is too easy to copy these days and we do not know how to stop it.'...

    I know how to stop it but no-one heres going to like it. Taking a page from Snow Crash where the network routers police traffic according to democratically arrived at laws, Internet protocols should be regulated in such a way that the network itself enforces distribution licenses. You download you're Linux iso's for free because thats the license in appropriate field of the Bit-Torrent 2009 protocol while material requiring payment has it automatically debited from your account on download, again depending on whats in the license field of the torrent. Regulating the network itself in a way that all licenses from free to ad-supported to subscription to purchase are enforced where it would be difficult to circumvent them (on the network not your computer) would ease issues in other areas that suck because of the lack of regulation of the network: having to put up with the likes of copy-protection on our computers and various nasties (think of the children being exploited) being filtered at the network level. The Internet is not a new phenomenom that magically facilitates people circumventing payment based licenses: before it was the SneakerNet but now that the Internet is a reality, it has become the tool of choice to distribute things beyond their intended audiences.

    And just a quick word to people who think all bits should be free: If someone wants to give it away for free then more power to them *but* in our economic framework it takes effort to organize all the bits in software and you paying the publisher then them paying their employees then the employees paying their bills is a great way to spread the effort around. Entertainment is hard to make for free right now - operating systems are different, they're infrastructure and there are more obvious benefits to cooperation in them.
  • by xrayspx (13127) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @09:56PM (#21318173) Homepage
    Is it that hard to translate from Canadian to English?
  • So all the RCMP said is that they are not going to CRIMINALLY prosecute filesharers.

    When is the last time that the US has launched a CRIMINAL trial against file sharers? Piracy IS a criminal offense both in the USA and Canada, not just a civil one, but nobody ever launches criminal trials in the US. Sure, the US cops haven't actually pledged NOT to launch criminal trials, but this doesn't change anything on practice as they haven't been actually doing it either. And given that file sharing is notoriously ha
  • Umm... US police forces haven't been focused on personal downloading, either. The RIAA has been targeting downloaders through civil suits. The Canadian Recording Industry Assoc (whose members are international corporations - the Canadian labels have all withdrawn membership) could pursue the same course of action once they manage to push through a few draconian amendments to Canadian law.
  • Way to go Canada. Can i please move there now?
  • by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @10:24PM (#21318389)
    Reasons to move to Canada:

    1. You won't get prosecuted for piracy
    2. Our dollar is now worth more than the US dollar
    3. We don't have perfect leaders, but most if not all are more intelligent than Bush
    4. We still have some degree of privacy left (aka. our telcos dont spy on us)
    5. We have beautiful natural wonders
    6. We have much greater diversity of cultures, weather & landscapes.
    7. Our beer is much better (& stronger)
    8. You can throw a rock in urban cities and hit 3 starbuck locations.
    9. We rule at ice hockey
    10. You get to wear a tuque, pet a beaver, eat maple syrup, and say eh? instead of huh?
  • The automatic Google translation (from French to English) is relatively of really good quality. Try plugging the original article [ledevoir.com] into Babelfish [altavista.com] and see how lousy it does by comparison.

    One point that particularly amazed me is that Google not only tanslates the acronym right (GRC => RCMP), but even the acronym's meaning (Gendarmerie royale du Canada => Royal Canadian Mounted Police), even though that's not anywhere close to a literal translation!

    Does anyone know more about how they do this? Do they use

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