ISPs now obligated to advise users of suspected copyright infringement
Starting 2015, Canadians can expect to receive warning notices if they are suspected of downloading copyright-protected materials from the Internet.
Changes to copyright law that came into effect Thursday require Internet service providers (ISPs) to pass along notices of alleged copyright infringement.
Previously, this was a voluntary activity.
ISPs must also retain records of the notices they receive and forward to users for at least six months in case a copyright owner decides to pursue legal action.
Search engines like Google are also affected by the so-called Notice and Notice regime.
Within 30 days of being advised that allegedly infringing material has been taken down from a website, they must remove any copies of that material (such as cached versions). If they don't comply, copyright owners could pursue legal action and claim damages.
"It formalizes a voluntary practice aimed at discouraging online copyright infringement, provides copyright owners with a tool to enforce their rights and respects the interests and freedoms of users," an Industry Canada news release said in June, when the changes were announced.
The government said the new regulations were crafted in consultation with more than a dozen ISPs and more than 35 copyright owners or creator organizations including representation from the music, film and literary industries.
One of those consulted was the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which in a Nov. statement warned the new system might be "susceptible to abuse," and expressed concern that it could overburden service providers.
Also introduced in the new regulations: a mandatory review of the Copyright Act every five years.