downloading illegal content online is something that happen all the time on the web and of course it has an impact particularly on the economy and copyrights. Everyone remembers Naptser and downloading music through file sharing.
Yet it has only become larger, more accessible and now downloading P2P (peer to peer) is really common. However, downloads and file sharing is not illegal in itself, unless the content shared has a copyright.
The protection of digital content
Over the last 15 years, I’ve seen all kinds of mechanisms, software and products with copy protection. ALL WERE A FAILURE.
I remember some DVD DISCS having a media protection. This “CSS” protection, immediately has been bypassed. The older CD/DVD writers simply allowed the copy of those DVD because their firmware were no up to date or some software were released to counter it.
I assume that if it is visible on a screen, or you can hear the material, you can make a copy of it. Nothing will prevent a person to bypass protections, if this is his goal. DVD and CD disappearing increasingly in the lasts years, letting the way to downloads, has put more pressure on legislators and those who hold the rights on digital content.
Modernizing the Copyright Act
Last January, in Canada, the Copyright Modernization Act was reviewed and there is now more guidance for illegal content downloads (protected by copyright).
In the last weeks, Teksavvy company (an Internet provider in Canada), was forced to give the list of people (their IP addresses, names, addresses etc), who have illegally downloaded a precise movie.
Teksavvy has have fix the administrative cost of such request . but was forced by law to do so. While there, the Canadians had a feeling that the copyrights were much applied in the US and Europe, 2015 brings a different view.
The modernization of the Copyright Act provides the power to confront users who illegally download the content by those who hold the rights.
The torrent sites
The torrent sites who indexes the files that users share via the web are also increasingly the target of anti-piracy laws like the ones implemented in Great Britain, the United States or elsewhere.
The PirateBay torrent website, who disappeared two months before reappearing is an example. Another site like Unlimited Torrents meanwhile, has been closed in the recent months and its founder sued for tens of millions for having enriched himself from companies and individuals who held music rights, film or software copyrights.
Usually, these sites operate through being hosted in countries with fairly soft digital content laws, or nonexistent. This does not stop investigations to trace their founders and those who benefit from these illegal acts.
The moment a human is being in the process of an action, HE can make a mistake. This principle helps to track even a tiny action that links a person to a bank account, a transaction, a purchase, an email etc.
France, like many countries have much tougher laws against piracy. Since 2006, Hadopi is a tool dedicated to circumscribe online piracy and make a more responsible use of the Internet.
Canada meanwhile took 10 years before making a change that is very far from reaching the digital copyright laws of other major nations. In Canada, the law allows to send communications to people who illegally download some copyright content, asking to stop their illegal downloading actions.
So, a person who illegally downloads in Canada receive a slap on the wrist before being sued.
Note that during this process, confidentiality is almost assured. Your personal information is not given to the holder of digital rights. They will have your personal information if they sue you in court.
We must not minimize and say we have the right to continue to download illegal content. Having a warning is fair enough but this is not an open door to continue until receiving it. I think we need to see the fact that real lawsuits for damages will be started, especially in the beginning. This will make examples that will create jurisprudence.
They will be able to state that a person has downloaded X number of songs during X period of time, the amount of money asked for damages will be really high in my opinion.
Does this amendment will put an end to illegal downloading? No. Whether virtual or in the normal life, there are hardcore criminals who make their living by illegal actions. There are also unconscious people, profiteers etc.
This will surely reduce the ardor of some when they will receive a letter or, this will only raise more caution by those who download with impunity.
Proxies, VPNs, “anonymizer” softwares, the deep web, wi-fi theft are just the tip of the iceberg to circumvent laws and make their way to persist in illegal actions.
Legislators must rely on other mechanisms, in an area more “educational” than “repressive” for a progression. It is a change of mentality that must be made and the law is only a tool among many other to achieve a responsible use of the Internet.