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Just out of curiosity: is peer-to-peer file sharing (ie BitTorrent, Limewire, etc.) still "legal" in Canada? I remember reading about potential legislation making P2P a punishable offense, but don't know what became of it. Can anyone clarify this for me? Thanks!
 

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P2P sharing of music is still quasi-legal in Canada, since Bill C-61 died when Harper called an election in the fall of 2008. Bill C-61 would have made it illegal. I am not certain of the legalities of downloading TV shows or movies though.
 

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Peer to peer file sharing simply means one person shares files on their computer with someone else, via a computer network. It could be your own files, work files, music or video and much, much more. It's not file sharing that may or may not be illegal, it's the unauthorized sharing of copyright material that's the concern.
 

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Peer-to-peer file sharing of public domain material is completely legal.

Peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material is illegal. The Federal Copyright Board ruled that downloading was not illegal. However, nothing in that ruling sanctions the uploading or distribution of copyrighted content. In other words, making copyrighted content on your computer available for others is illegal and since peer-to-peer file sharing does just that ... in my view, it is not legal.

From the decison:

In these proceedings, the liability of persons uploading, distributing or communicating music through these services is not at issue. Nor is the liability of those providing software, operating networks or Internet connections. Peer-to-peer distribution on the Internet is not addressed as such in the regime. In this respect, other copyright considerations certainly apply. However, we are only dealing here with the end copies.

The regime does not address the source of the material copied. There is no requirement in Part VIII that the source copy be a non-infringing copy. Hence, it is not relevant whether the source of the track is a pre-owned recording, a borrowed CD, or a track downloaded from the Internet.

Although the source of the copy does not matter, the destination does. The Board believes that section 80 creates an exemption that applies as long as two conditions are met the copy must be for the private use of the person making it, and it must be made onto an audio recording medium, as defined in section 79.
Just my two cents on the decision itself. The Copyright Board got it completely right. It preserved fair use and our right to make copies for our own purposes. It also gave the industry some well-deserved payback over copyright levies on blank media. By collecting a fee every time we buy a blank CD or DVD, the industry sanctions downloads. They pushed for the fee ... they got what they deserved.

Back to the question ... in short, peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material is likely illegal because of the simultaneous uploading.
 

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By collecting a fee every time we buy a blank CD or DVD, the industry sanctions downloads. They pushed for the fee ... they got what they deserved.
The blank media levy goes to the Canadian Private Copying Collective which represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies.

You can't think of "the industry" as a single group. There's a bunch of groups that get pieces of different pies. In Canada there's the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) and SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). There's a whole bunch more but I can't find my list. The CRIA (RIAA in the US) are trying to protect their piece -- CD sales -- and get a big piece of new media.
 

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Fair enough and my derision is directed at the likes of CRIA. The levy itself essentially charges in advance for the personal use of the blank media for copyrighted material. Having pushed for the tariff, CRIA and others took the position that copying of protected material for personal use was happening and that they should be indemnified. Turning around and then arguing it should be illegal, without agreeing to the removal of the levy is duplicitous. Good on the Copyright Board for seeing through it.
 
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