The Canadian government has warned Big Content that they are not allowed to go around threatening people it thinks are pirates – like they do in other countries.
Big Content has taken to sending letters to Canadians who illegally download movies, music and books with penalties just like it does in the US. The only problem is that it is threatening them with breaches in laws which only exist in the kangaroo courts of the US.
A spokesman for the Industry Minister James Moore said that these notices are misleading and companies cannot use them to demand money from Canadians.
Officials will be contacting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and rights holders within days to put an end to the practice, he said.
It all started when University of Ottawa law professor and respected industry blogger Michael Geist posted a letter from a rights holder that threatened civil liabilities of up to $150,000 per infringment.
However Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringements by individuals at $5,000.
Recent legal amendments require ISPs to pass on to their customers copyright infringement notices from media companies.
The opposition New Democratic Party claimed that the current government was allowing companies send false legal information to Canadians in order to scare them into paying settlements for movies or music no one has even proved they have actually downloaded.
Geist said ISPs should reassure customers that their personal information has not been disclosed and point out Canadian law on the issue.
He urged the government to penalize companies that send false information or make "misleading settlement demands."
Geist’s letter was sent by Rightscorp on behalf of music rights manager BMG Rights Management to an unidentified Canadian ISP, also offered a legal release from the copyright owner for $20 per infringement.
What worries many is that Rightcorp might have actually collected money from people who were too scared of a court case.