The rules for Canada's notice-and-notice regime will change following the passing of C-86, the Budget Implementation Act. Moving forward, rightsholders will not be allowed to send copyright infringement notices for ISPs to pass onto their customers, if they contain a direct or indirect offer to settle. The development effectively ends Rightscorp-style business models in Canada.
In several countries around the world, notably the United States, Canada, and the UK, rightsholders and their agents send copyright notices to alleged infringers. In most cases, recipients are accused of downloading and sharing copyright-infringing content using BitTorrent. The notices contain details of the alleged offense along with instructions to cease-and-desist. These notices, sent to Internet users’ ISPs, are regularly passed on to the subscriber. However, some companies targeting US and Canadian citizens augment their notices with text indicating that a cash settlement is required, ranging from just a few dollars to several hundred. Many users who see these demands pay up but these notices are unusual in that the original sender has no idea who the subscriber is. This means that some recipients ignore them, with no further consequences. While the practice operates largely unhindered in the US, over in Canada (where there is a so-called notice-and-notice regime) there has been considerable opposition since its inception in 2015. ISPs, who have to bear the brunt of the administrative burden, have also cried foul, with TekSavvy recently describing the content of some notices as akin to “scams and spam“, with Bell noting that it would like to see an end to the copyright-notice settlement model. Back in October, it became clear that the ISPs and other opponents had strong government backing with the publication of a new bill that would prevent the activity from continuing. Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, has now received royal assent, so there will be some big changes in the Great White North.