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Canadian File Sharing Plaintiff Admits To Copyright Trolling 87

Posted by timothy
from the ok-we-like-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Canipre, a Montreal-based intellectual property rights enforcement firm, has admitted that it is behind the Voltage file sharing lawsuits involving TekSavvy in what is described as a 'speculative invoicing' scheme. Often referred to as copyright trolling, speculative invoicing involves sending hundreds or thousands of demand letters alleging copyright infringement and seeking thousands of dollars in compensation. Those cases rarely — if ever — go to court as the intent is simply to scare enough people into settling in order to generate a profit. The Canipre admission is important because it is consistent with arguments that the case involves copyright trolling and that the Canadian Federal Court should not support the scheme by ordering the disclosure of subscriber contact information."
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Canadian File Sharing Plaintiff Admits To Copyright Trolling

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  • by DotNM (737979) <`matt' `at' `mattdean.ca'> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @10:55AM (#43148955) Homepage
    It's a sad day for Canada when we start doing this kind of stuff too.
    • by dropadrop (1057046) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:01AM (#43149009)
      I would imagine that you can't judge how sad the day is before seeing what the reaction is. I would imagine this scheme is active in most countries enforcing copyright.
    • Really? When was the last time you heard of a copyright troll admitting to wrongdoing in the US?

      If you actually read TFA, Canpire actually admits that acting civilly and reasonably with infringers is better and more effective than being total dicks. Though only time will tell whether this is a ruse to build goodwill, and it does demonstrate that they are, in fact, behaving like dicks with their bullshit litigious actions.

      (fun sidebar: the word "Canpire" autocorrects to "Vampire" on my phone)

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        Does the company's correct name, Canipre, also autocorrect to Vampire?

      • (fun sidebar: the word "Canpire" autocorrects to "Vampire" on my phone)

        Even more fun sidebar: 'Canpire' is wrong, too. This is Montreal, ergo, french.
        'Canipre'....it would be pronounced something like...'Can-ee-pray'...

        • by sjames (1099)

          More like Can-ee-prey.

        • (fun sidebar: the word "Canpire" autocorrects to "Vampire" on my phone)

          Even more fun sidebar: 'Canpire' is wrong, too. This is Montreal, ergo, french.
          'Canipre'....it would be pronounced something like...'Can-ee-pray'...

          I prefer Can-ee-prey

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Really? When was the last time you heard of a copyright troll admitting to wrongdoing in the US?

        If you actually read TFA, Canpire actually admits that acting civilly and reasonably with infringers is better and more effective than being total dicks. Though only time will tell whether this is a ruse to build goodwill, and it does demonstrate that they are, in fact, behaving like dicks with their bullshit litigious actions.

        (fun sidebar: the word "Canpire" autocorrects to "Vampire" on my phone)

        They call it a smartphone.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Really? When was the last time you heard of a copyright troll admitting to wrongdoing in the US?

        When was the last time you heard one admitting to wrongdoing in Canada? The "admission" the summary talks about isn't actually there, it's the claim of Michael Geist (from whom the summary "written" by "anonymous" was copied almost verbatim. Can you spell "plagiarism"? ).

        Canipre didn't admit to being a copyright troll, nor did they admit to wrongdoing.

        If you actually read TFA, Canpire actually admits that acting civilly and reasonably with infringers is better and more effective than being total dicks.

        And TFA also says that some infringers need more, and that Canipre knows the most effective way to get a takedown is by using the legal methods and not ju

    • Even in Canada some corporations are trying to make profit off of scaring people. I see this kind of corporate behaviour even more damaging for society than copyright infringement!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Simple blackmail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:09AM (#43149093)

    Voltage Films is a well known copyright trolling firm in the United States. Unfortunately for our neighbors to the north, it appears that these cockroaches are now infesting them as well.

    Here's a sample of the RECENT cases they've filed in the U.S.:

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-12
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-24
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Northern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-11
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Northern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-43
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Northern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-22
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-26
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-19
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-72
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1-13
    Copyright Infringement – Ohio Southern District Court Filed: 3/4/2013

    Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1 - 198
    Copyright Infringement – Oregon District Court Filed: 2/19/2013

    Voltage has many other ongoing lawsuits in the states. They've been filing them since at least early 2011.

  • by sribe (304414) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:11AM (#43149127)

    Turn over all the subscriber info to Canpire immediately. Let them send out demand letters. Then send out letters to all those subscribers explaining the exact nature of Canpire's business, on the theory that there's a least a handful of those subscribers with money, good lawyers, and short tempers ;-)

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:03PM (#43149679)

      Absolutely not.

      I'm not worried about receiving a letter from them, but I absolutely do not want them to have my contact information at all. Who's to say what they're going to do with that information besides launch a bullshit lawsuit? They may still be able to make money off it, even if not a single suit gets filed.

      • by JMJimmy (2036122)

        Exactly... That and what's to limit the scope of their claims? Canipre has already said it has, discredited, data (software they use was thrown out of a German court due to it's failings) on over a million IPs in Canada.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Given their nature, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they followed up with letters from a Nigerian prince who wants to transact business proposition.

      • Who's to say what they're going to do with that [contact] information besides launch a bullshit lawsuit?

        Not "who", but "what" : Canada's PIPEDA law [justice.gc.ca] explicitly prohibits Personal Information collected for one purpose from being used for a different purpose (without consent).

    • by eth1 (94901)

      Turn over all the subscriber info to Canpire immediately. Let them send out demand letters. Then send out letters to all those subscribers explaining the exact nature of Canpire's business, on the theory that there's a least a handful of those subscribers with money, good lawyers, and short tempers ;-)

      Even better response that might ultimately be cheaper for the ISP than getting incessant requests:

      Send out a letter to all subscribers describing the troll and their methods, then "if you receive demands of this nature, and are willing to fight them in court, contact us for legal assistance." Then either pay for lawyers or use the company ones.

      At minimum, you might have to argue one case, but if the trolls find out you're making this offer, they might just move on to an easier target.

  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:16AM (#43149183)

    'speculative invoicing' I think the correct term would be blackmail.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Speculative = Abusive use of legal process
      Invoicing = Extortion

      But somehow "Extortion via abuse of legal process" doesn't sound as fluffy as "Speculative invoicing".

      Also, I react differently to an invoice in the mailbox vs. a court summons in the mailbox - one of these is a little more threatening and imposing than the other, can you guess which?

  • Fraud? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CheeseTroll (696413) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:25AM (#43149261)

    IANAL, but why isn't this simply considered fraud, and prosecuted as such?

    • Because law-suits are, fundamentally speaking, a necessary tool to hold people accountable, and creating a precedent(Canada is common law, right?) that suggests you can be punished to raising the possibility of a lawsuit can be dangerous. In this case, I don't think it is, because maliciousness is inherent in the planning, but think what unsavory corporate lawyers might do with such a ruling.

    • Re:Fraud? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:05PM (#43149701)

      Because, theoretically, there actually has been a crime committed in which they are actually the victims. As such, they have a right to defend their properties.

      Whether they actually intend to prosecute it is irrelevant, when considering whether they have an entitlement to do so.

      sucks, don't it?

      • by gr8_phk (621180)

        Because, theoretically, there actually has been a crime committed in which they are actually the victims. As such, they have a right to defend their properties.

        IIANAL but I don't think that's true. If they want to sue someone go ahead - in court. But to send a notice making unfounded claims and seeking payment is probably mail fraud - at least in the US.

        • Re:Fraud? (Score:4, Informative)

          by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:50PM (#43150223)

          send a notice making unfounded claims

          that's the point... the claims aren't unfounded, at least not to the best of their knowledge. They have evidence (which has yet to be accepted/proven in court) which links the IP address in question to an infringement that is illegal under Canadian law. They're seeking to have the information which links the IP address to a real person so that they can sue.

          Whether they actually intend to sue, or simply send threatening letters, has nothing to do with it. The whole point of the case is that the validity of IP address evidence itself needs to be tested in court before the subscriber information is released, not after.

          The CIPPIC briefs in this case are particularly interesting/important reading... you can find them, along with all of the other court documents, here: http://www.teksavvy.com/en/why-teksavvy/in-the-news/teksavvy-customer-notices/legal-documents-for-request-for-customer-information [teksavvy.com]

        • Re:Fraud? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:52PM (#43150243) Homepage Journal

          In addition, their actions have been found to be a fraud upon the courts in some cases.

          Applying to the courts for an order to identify people on the grounds you will sue them, and then extorting payments instead, makes the initial application fraudulent.

          In the U.S. and the U.K., this has led to legal or law-society actions against the fraudulent plaintiffs. In Canada, as we just passed a law to limit such suits, it may lead to stronger measures.

          --dave

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:32AM (#43149305)

    1) Send out threatening letters
    2) ???
    3) Profit!

    I call that a Racket as in Racketerring... [wikipedia.org]

    Traditionally, the word racket is used to describe a business (or syndicate) that is based on the example of the protection racket and indicates a belief that it is engaged in the sale of a solution to a problem that the institution itself creates or perpetuates, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage.

    So you have companies asking people to pay for protection or immunity from further civil or criminal prosecution. All they have to do is just pay up.

    I don't know if Canada has Racket laws, but in the US we do have the RICO law [wikipedia.org] which has been effective in going after organized crime, especially around Rackets such as this.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      When the mob knocks on your door and says that you need to pay up or bad things might happen, that's racketeering. The bad thing that might happen is not of the individual or business's doing, rather it's the mob ransacking the place, torching it, scaring away customers, etc.

      While they may have no intentions of actually going after file traders if they don't "settle", they have the option to legally do so. This isn't getting into the debate of whether IP addresses are sufficient evidence to sustain a case

      • by nebular (76369)

        The article even states that they want to go after those that don't settle. They want to take it all the way, which means getting the scared to pay up a small, but not insignificant, amount and the pompous you can't touch me a huge destroying amount, both to them and the defence legal team.

        Basically, you bankrupt a few high profile piraters the others will cave, either by paying a settlement, or by not pirating anymore.

        Still a losing game these days.

        • by green1 (322787)

          luckily the law in Canada caps the maximum penalty for all past offences of private copyright infringement at $5000 total. so "bankrupt" is unlikely.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In Quebec, Canada we have law which is called "Act respecting the Collection of Certain Debts", which states that:

      [...]
      Prohibited practices.

      3. No person may, for the collection of a debt,

      (1) represent that, failing payment, the debtor is liable to arrest or penal proceedings;

      (2) communicate with the debtor when the latter has notified him or her in writing to communicate with his or her legal adviser;

      (2.1) communicate verbally with the debtor before legal action is taken, if the debt

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        It's nitpicking, but in the case of these letters, I don't believe the defendant/victim/alleged downloader can be considered a debtor. At the time of the letter, there is no legal obligation to pay a "debt". They haven't entered into a contract or agreement for exchange of goods or services.

        It's in essence not that different then magazine or other services that send an "invoice" for their service in an attempt to get you to subscribe to them. This presume that the letter they send does not misrepresent t

    • by houghi (78078)

      Please explain why the MAFIAA can still do racketeering in the USofA if there is a law against it.
      As in "I assume that you share files: Either you pay a serious amount of money, or you pay a ridiculous amount of money. And if you want to fight us in court: may God have mercy on your children, because we will make you loose everything including things not even Don Corleone dares to take away."

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Humm, well let's see.

        1) RIAA and the MPAA spend lots of money lobbying congress. The MPAA for example has a former US Senator as it's current leader, Chris Dodd. [wikipedia.org] Because of lobbying and influence in terms of campaign contributions we have such wonderful legislation like the DMCA.
        2) Patent Trolling in the US is a legitimate business, there are examples of this going back nearly 200 years. My favorite example of patent thickets and trolling involves the Sewing Machine wars which started in the 1850s. [ipwatchdog.com] It's

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you remember the sites that sold bittorrent for $30. Or rather they sold 'unlimited copyright free downloads' for $30, and the small print mentioned that the bittorrent app doesn't itself infringe copyright, its the *use* you put it to that may infringe.

    People want to pay for the stuff they get, it may not be the price the copyright holder would like, but there's a deal to be made there.

    This is the same thing, people feel guilty about getting so much stuff for free, that a troll can extract money from th

    • People want to pay for the stuff they get

      People want to pay for the privilege to not face retribution. They're taught that certain things are illegal, immoral, or somehow wrong; and that being a bad boy will get you in trouble. Thus they pay the camel through the needle's eye to stay out of hell.

      • by TimHunter (174406)

        Thus they pay the camel through the needle's eye to stay out of hell.

        "Your sentiments do you honor, but if you will allow me to say it, metaphor is not your best hold."
        -- Mark Twain, "The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm", 1882

        • I was referencing the biblical simile between a rich person getting into heaven and a camel passing through a needle's eye to the Catholic Church's short-lived program of paying the Catholic Church money to ensure your place in heaven (you know, the whole affair that forked the Lutheran Church). The implication is they've paid their tithe, and therefor they can consume as much as they want without paying for anything again--they've paid once so it's okay to take things without paying for them.
          • by TimHunter (174406)

            So, you're blending a reference to the sale of indulgences and the Protestant Reformation with a reference to Jesus' advice to the rich man who wanted to know how to get into heaven?

            Quite a mix for one metaphor. I'm awed.

            • More like doing a backtrace. The indulgences could be considered shoving enough money to buy a camel through the eye of a needle. Also there is a pattern of people amending metaphor when someone does something--in this case it is said that a rich person making it to heaven is as a camel through a needle's eye, and so a rich man entering heaven has put his camel through the needle's eye. Or, has put himself through the needle's eye. Or, as I said, the money for the camel. The money or the camel itself c

  • by nebular (76369) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @11:57AM (#43149603) Homepage

    The judge is going to have to interpret what the motivation behind the practice is. Based on my limited knowledge of precedent in this area, if the judge feels the motivation is profit driven (i.e. Day to day Business as usual) then he could throw it out. Canada is not known for tolerating overly litigious business practices. However if the Judge believes this is to collect lost revenue due to infringement, then this could go right through.
    Goon is more believable that it's going after lost revenue then Hurt Locker.

  • From the first linked article in the summary:
    In recent years, American distributors have experimented with what’s known as premium VOD (video on demand), a scheme by which a newly released film is made available simultaneously on pay-per-view television for a high price. (This tactic is virtually unheard of in Canada.) Goon’s U.S. distributor, Magnolia Pictures, made the film available via U.S. cable providers for $30.

    $30?? This shows exactly what is wrong with the movie studios and why they'l

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Big kudos to TekSavvy for fighting copyright trolls and actually protecting their customers' private information. Just for that I will gladly keep giving them my money.

  • It is not clear whether Canpire is "behind" the lawsuits at all and specifically, the VOLTAGE PICTURES LLC v. JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE case (Federal Court Number : T-2058-12 http://cas-ncr-nter03.cas-satj.gc.ca/IndexingQueries/infp_RE_info_e.php?court_no=T-2058-12 [cas-satj.gc.ca]).

    To be "behind" the lawsuit, Canpire must have some form of ownership over the works. The court materials show that Voltage claims ownership. So Voltage is and remains "behind" the lawsuit. Canpire are Voltage's "experts" on the issue of who is in

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