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Piracy Case Could Change Canadian Web Landscape 156

meatheadmike writes to tell us that a recent Canadian court case brought against the Canadian Recording Industry Association by isoHunt Web Technologies, Inc, could drastically change the web landscape in Canada. "The question before the British Columbia Supreme Court is if a site such as isoHunt allows people to find a pirated copy of movies such as Watchmen or The Dark Knight, is it breaching Canadian copyright law? 'It's a huge can of worms," said David Fewer, acting director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa. 'I am surprised that this litigation has gone under the radar as much as it has. I do think this is the most important copyright litigation going on right now.'"
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Piracy Case Could Change Canadian Web Landscape

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  • I don't understand. Is the torrent site suing the CRIAA (Canadian Recording Industry Assh*les from America) to see whether non-Canadian content is copyrighted by the CRIAA? I thought those companies were subsidiaries of the recording companies and they just cross-license their stuff.

    Legalese is so very confusing.

  • Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:04PM (#27273953) Homepage

    It's different because Canadians have ALREADY paid for the content, in the form of a levy on all storage media. So the media companies want to be paid twice.

  • Re:Laws and stuff (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GenP ( 686381 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:35PM (#27274303)

    Hope you didn't illegally download that 2x4. ;)

    You jest, but the day is coming... []

  • Re:Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:44PM (#27274417) Journal

    The issue at hand here is whether or not an individual/corporate entity can link to a copyrighted files (or in this case link to a file that has a link to look for a list of people that might have the file you need).

    I think this case is great news.
    Either the court sides with isoHunt and the issue is permanently settled...
    OR the court sides with the CRIA and the search engines hire lobbyists to fight it out and get the law changed.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:48PM (#27274457) Homepage

    The problem is that people are still trying (and for the most part, failing) to make money from digital works. There are considerable forces in the world that want to make this impossible. And they are winning.

    If you spend money for a movie, you are their sworn enemy. If you pay for music, in any form, you are part of the problem and they think they are part of the solution.

    The problem is, right now they can win. For the most part "crime" on the Internet can't be effectively punished. Which is why just about anyone with a static IP address is assulted on a daily basis with break-in attempts. It is why your children can't be allowed to use the Internet without supervision - someone will approach them with some unsavory proposal. Anyone doing this "in real life" would either be beaten to death or arrested, depending on who caught up with them first (a parent or the police). On the Internet, I can seduce your children, I can commit fraud, libel and anything else I choose and you can do nothing about it.

    This means I can buy movies and post them on the Internet with the specific intent of making sure not another dime is spent on that movie, ever again. Will my purchase be the last? Right now it is changing from a silly question to approaching a 50/50 proposition, depending on where I post information about "my" movie.

    You can figure this is going to happen with books, software, music, movies and anything else in digital form. Anything is fair game.

    So why is free bad? It sounds really nice, just having everything for free. More money for everything else. Doesn't this just make us all richer? Sure, everyone except the creator. Somehow they got the idea that they were going to be paid. Well, payday is almost over. And when it is over for real they better like the new "everything for free" situation because there is no way you are going to convince people to go back to the old way.

    So, yes, paying for movies and music is a political statement. A rabidly antisocial and greedy political statement.

  • Re:purely legal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mariushm ( 1022195 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:55PM (#27274535)

    Sorry, no.

    IsoHunt acts as a search engine and returns torrent files that can be either "legal" or "illegal".

    No search engine can determine with 100% accuracy if something is legal or not, not even Google.

    If I record a movie in my own garden, I can release the video on my website or even on The Pirate Bay with a license saying that only the people in my home town have the right to download the video and the rest don't.

    IsoHunt will index the torrent file nevertheless and from your point of view, IsoHunt indexes an illegal torrent that should be taken down, but from my (the creator) point of view it's perfectly legal.

    It's the USER'S RESPONSIBILITY to read the terms of the license, the description of the torrent file I made and download the movie if he believes he's allowed to.

    So what I'm saying is that a movie or song or any binary data can be copyrighted but also can be legal to download it, it's illegal to distribute/download/upload/whatever something you don't have rights to do that and IsoHunt or any other search engine can't know that.

    You can use Google nowadays for much worse things than copyright infringement, things like how to make a lockpick, how to prepare cocaine, how to steal a car, how to make a gun... but apparently a company's loss is important enough to stop something very useful to a lot of people.

    It's not even worth to start commenting about cases where a company makes a movie making millions in US but doesn't feel it's worth releasing a DVD or a VHS to a small country, because they estimate they'll sell very few copies there and the profits will be smaller than the distribution and fabrication costs.

    When this company retains copyright over something but yet keeps that something locked and unavailable to where I am, is that company really losing any money or suffers any losses if someone copies and gives away that stuff for free in that country? Should that company be allowed to keep copyright for 90 years on that? What was copyright supposed to be for, anyway?

  • Re:Why this wording? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gslj ( 214011 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @06:10PM (#27274687)

    In Canada, musical recordings and movies leave copyright after fifty years. (Written works leave copyright fifty years after the death of the author). That means that an extensive list of movies is public domain (in Canada) and can be legally downloaded. For example,

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    Fantasia (1940)
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
    Lady and the Tramp (1955)

    I used a torrent the other day to get a copy of music that my dad used to have on album, "Yvonne de Carlo Sings." The date: 1957. I'd argue that the torrent search engine and I are in the clear on this one.

    The one proviso: when Disney restores the colour or re-engineers the sound track, the copyright clock starts ticking again ON THE REVISED VERSION, which is why Disney does that so often.

    By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a torrent of the film "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (1940) or Thurber's "The Male Animal" (1942) please let me know.


  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @06:20PM (#27274763) Journal
    to get fairly quick access to any music title you want.

    go to Google and type in:

    "bandName" "recordTitle" download inurl:blogspot

    just substitute "bandName" with the name of the band you want and "recordTitle" with the title you need from them.


    the blogs linking to them come up.

    sigh. So simple and convenient...


  • Re:Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @06:37PM (#27274943) Homepage

    That's not /strictly/ true. It's true that "fair use" and "format shifting" are established more firmly here than in the U.S.

    In Canada it's always been legal to make copies for personal use. This means that it's perfectly OK for you to take a line output from your 8 track stereo to your line in on your Mac Pro and create a digtal copy of that Rush 2112 album you bought in 1976.

    Similarly, it's fairly clearly legal for you to rip a copy of the Serenity Special Edition DVD you've bought to watch on your iPhone. You're breaking encryption, but it's probably still legal.

    To extend from that to "it's not illegal to download copyrighted works for personal use" is a stretch. Essentially the point in the scenarios above if that you've already /paid/ for a "licence" at whatever prevailing rate the things costs. From there, you can shift your don't need to buy multiple licences (though you obviously can.)

    Whether this justifies the liberation of content gets into muddier waters. If I buy the DVD can I download a copy and say that's my "other format?" Maybe....maybe....the source may be illegal, but technically I do "own it" but I'm not sure that's justification. (Though I may use it as justification also.)

    In the case of over the air TV shows such as "30 Rock" I don't have to "pay" for a licence. It's paid for by advertisers. If I download it without advertisements...different situation. It's not like anybody's lost money, except in the abstract sense that the network could have made _more_ money through advertising revenue with a larger audience...unless of course I watched it live as well.

    In the case of a Compact Disc there's a more direct cause and effect: if I download a liberated copy of the medi, somebody's lost money. Labels aren't going to keep putting out music for no money, and bands aren't going to be able to record if nobody ever buys albums (touring revenue notwithstanding.)

    The media levy muddies the waters a bit, but only a bit.

  • Re:Why this wording? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:18PM (#27275363) Journal
    The one proviso: when Disney restores the colour or re-engineers the sound track, the copyright clock starts ticking again ON THE REVISED VERSION, which is why Disney does that so often.

    One could argue, though, that the remastered version is merely a derivative work and covered under the original copyright. Just as changing the font of a novel would not cause it to be a new copyrightable book.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:20PM (#27276111)
    As for the latter, that was the British. I realize this is a matter of some national pride for Canadians, but history does not bear it out. The commander was Irish born and the regiments were all various British units who had recently been freed up by the end of the Napoleonic War. No Canadian raised units (which were primarily militias) participated. The razing of the White House was strictly a British affair and did not involve the predecessors of modern Canadians.

    Battle of Bladensburg [].

  • Re:Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:28PM (#27276145) Homepage

    I don't disagree with your assertion, but that's your personal politics of music not the legality at play.

    Neko Case told Paste Magazine that touring payed for her farm in Vermont, not recording. I believe strongly in supporting musicians while they're touring, and detest the face that I'm basically supporting Ticketmaster most of the time anyway.

    Nirvana may have recorded Bleach for $600 but most of those millions of eventual fans didn't go see them because they bought Bleach, and even fewer of them went to see them at Neumo's.

    Most of those fans heard of Nirvana long after they'd been signed by a major label and given a massive promotion and marketing push.

    I'm not saying a similar story /couldn't/ have happened if they'd just toured like crazy, I'm saying the story you're telling happened in the current system and not outside of it.

    I feel similarly about Radiohead's succesful "experiment" with selling In Rainbow's direct, btw. It really wasn't that interesting an was a band that had benefited from millions of dollars of earlier promotion leveraging their name recognition. It's much more interesting to see what new bands are doing with the new medium...those bands that aren't signing with major labels (like the aforementioned Divine Ms. Case, who's been asked to do so more than once but values her integrity and independence.)

    It's about the legality, not the politics. In Canada if I've seen an artist live does that give me the right to liberate all of their music? I've asked this myself...I keep going to /see/ Kathleen Edwards but I don't own much of her music. Can I liberate it? I don't think it's legal.

    Followup question: if I borrow a CD from the library and rip it, is it legal for me to keep it?

  • Re:Not quite... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @01:12AM (#27277125)

    Essentially the point in the scenarios above if that you've already /paid/ for a "licence" at whatever prevailing rate the things costs.

    Incorrect. Any person can make a copy of any copyrighted musical work for their own personal use. It doesn't mean they can only copy things they already own, it doesn't matter if they've paid anything for it at all. You can come to my house and copy all my CDs, and so can everyone I know. You may also invite anyone to come to your house and make copies of your CDs, including the ones you copied from me. Making any copy of any recording for personal use is not infringement.

    See the "Copying for Private Use" section of the Canadian Copyright Act: []

    What I'm curious about is this;

    The blank media levy was supposed to cover things like recoding from the radio. So what then is the functional differnce from me ripping a stream to mp3 and hitting record on the old tape deck?

  • Re:Not quite... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:00AM (#27278179) Homepage

    Actually, it IS legal to rip a library CD, and to keep the copy. That's black-letter law in Canada, and why we pay the blank media levy.

    You can copy and keep anything -- the interesting wording in the law says, IIRC, that the person doing the copying must also be the one doing the keeping.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein