Internet Service Providers Report
The invention and widespread adoption of the Internet has revolutionized the way in which products that fall in the domain of copyright protection — books, pictures, movies, and music — are distributed and consumed. The industries whose products are easily rendered as digital content have had to adapt to this sea change on very short order. In this time, whole new industries, such as the Internet Access industry, have been spawned. The rise of the Internet challenges existing Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and copyright in particular, in ways that could not have been foreseen when these rights were drafted. Numerous legal challenges have arisen in Canada and other jurisdictions around both technical issues (such as mirroring, caching, and incidental copying) as well as more fundamental legal issues (such as whether storing files in a "shared directory" constitutes a violation of the Copyright Act). As has been argued elsewhere, there is need for a clarification of existing IPRs to sensibly address new technologies.1
In the absence of legislation explicitly addressing copyright and the Internet, Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) agreed to follow a "notice and notice" system that provided copyright holders a method to help protect their property rights on the Internet (as accessed through Canadian ISPs).2 This agreement was reached in 2000 between the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP), the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA), and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Since then, CAIP and CCTA members have been voluntarily following this practice.
The procedures agreed upon in 2000 were as follows: (1) CRIA notifies a CAIP– or CCTA–member ISP in writing that an alleged infringement of CRIA's copyrights has occurred through the actions of a customer of the ISP; (2) the ISP notifies its customer of the allegation, again in writing, and, (3) the ISP sends a written confirmation that it has done so back to CRIA.3
1 See, for example, Cockburn and Chwelos (2001).
2 A more detailed description of the impact of the issues surrounding copyright, ISPs, and rights holders is available in Chwelos (2003).
3 This description of the CAIP/CCTA/CRIA notice and notice agreement is based on Thomson (2001).