Notice and Notice Regime

Quick Facts

  • On , the Notice and Notice provisions of the Copyright Modernization Act came into force.
  • The Notice and Notice regime formalizes a voluntary practice aimed at discouraging online copyright infringement.
  • The Notice and Notice regime is one of several new measures introduced through the Copyright Modernization Act that strengthen the ability of copyright owners to control the use of their online works.
  • With the coming into force of the Notice and Notice regime – the final step in implementing the Copyright Modernization Act – Canadians now have balanced, modern copyright laws that will help support innovation and drive investment in the economy.

Quick Facts for Consumers

  • If you receive a notice of alleged infringement, it is because a copyright owner has identified your Internet address as being involved in an activity that allegedly infringes their copyright.
  • Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean that you have in fact infringed copyright or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.
  • The Notice and Notice regime does not impose any obligations on a subscriber who receives a notice and it does not require the subscriber to contact the copyright owner or the intermediary.
  • The information provided by the copyright owner should help you understand the details of the alleged infringement.
  • An objective of the Notice and Notice regime is to discourage online infringement on the part of Internet subscribers and to raise awareness in instances where Internet subscribers' accounts are being used for such purposes by others.
  • U.S. copyright fines and penalties do not apply in Canada.
  • Statutory damages for non-commercial infringement in Canada do not exceed $5,000.‎

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Notice and Notice regime?

Notice and Notice is a tool established in the Copyright Act to help copyright owners address online copyright infringement (e.g. illegal downloading) so that they can protect their copyright material while respecting the interests and freedom of users. It formalized a voluntary industry-based practice that has been in place for several years.

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How does it work?

When a copyright owner thinks that an Internet user might be infringing their copyright, they can send a notice of alleged infringement to the user's Internet service provider (ISP). Notice and Notice requires that the ISP forward (e.g. via email) the notice of alleged infringement to the user and then inform the copyright owner once this has been done.

For example, a copyright owner observes an Internet user with a Canadian Internet protocol (IP) address downloading a movie from a pirate site. Not knowing who the person is, the copyright owner can send a notice of alleged infringement to the ISP that owns the relevant IP address. The ISP must then forward the notice to its subscriber who was using that IP address at the time of the alleged infringement.

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What should I do if I receive a notice?

The goal of the Notice and Notice regime is to discourage online infringement. Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean that you have in fact infringed copyright or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.

If you receive a notice, it must contain information that will help you understand the details of the allegation, including the date and time of the alleged conduct. For instance, you may receive a notice in which a copyright owner alleges that you or someone using your Internet address has engaged in illegal downloading or illegally sharing a song or movie.

It is possible that the notice pertains to acts that were undertaken by someone using your Internet connection without your knowledge. You may want to ensure that your home network is secured by a strong password to prevent others from using your Internet connection to engage in infringement.

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What kind of information is included in a notice to consumers?

The Copyright Act lists the specific information that must be included in a notice for it to comply with the Notice and Notice regime. Notices must:

  • state the claimant's name and address;
  • identify the copyright material that is alleged to have been infringed and the claimant's interest or right with respect to that material;
  • specify the location data (e.g. the web address or Internet address associated with the alleged infringement);
  • specify the infringement that is alleged; and
  • specify the date and time of the alleged infringement.

Your Internet service provider (ISP) is obligated to forward you any notice that complies with the regime. Your ISP may also be a source of helpful information in terms of understanding the reasons why you were forwarded a notice.

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Does receiving a notice mean I am going to be sued for copyright infringement?

A notice of alleged infringement is separate from any lawsuit for copyright infringement. There is no legal obligation to pay any settlement offered by a copyright owner.

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Do I have to respond to the notice?

The Notice and Notice regime does not impose any obligations on a subscriber who receives a notice, and it does not require the subscriber to contact the copyright owner or the intermediary.

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Will my Internet service provider share my private information with a copyright owner who is alleging that I infringed copyright?

If ordered to do so by a court, the Internet service provider or host must release your subscriber information to the copyright owner as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

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What happens if a copyright owner decides to sue?

A copyright owner may decide to launch legal proceedings. Such proceedings may be launched regardless of whether the copyright owner has sent a notice under the regime. A court would then determine whether copyright infringement has in fact occurred.

Under the Notice and Notice regime, Internet service providers (ISP) must retain records of the identity of the subscribers who have been forwarded notices for a period of six months, or longer (up to one year) in cases where a copyright owner decides to take legal action. If ordered to do so by a court, the ISP would release your subscriber information to the copyright owner as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

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