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Mike Z


Canadian ISPs and Copyright Enforcement

The unfolding case of TekSavvy and Voltage has sparked a lot of interest in these forums and elsewhere, and like some of you, I've been keenly following the developments. Lurking around here has been a big help, and the DSLreports archives include plenty of older topics on ISPs & copyright.
I'm hoping that some of you may be able to help me fill in some gaps about Canadian ISPs and copyright enforcement.

To introduce myself, I'm currently in the early stages of a study looking into the role of ISPs in internet governance (my PhD dissertation - sociology). One component of my topic is the involvement of ISPs in copyright enforcement, where ISPs can be a crucial link as holders of subscriber information.

I'm curious about the practices at various Canadian ISPs in regards to forwarding notices or taking other action against allegedly infringing subscribers. My understanding is that the larger companies have more of formalized protocol when it comes to dealing with copyright owners and sending out subscriber notifications, whereas small ISPs with fewer resources are sometimes more ad hoc in their approach. Still, even Bell has complained about the difficulty of keeping up with the volume of notifications they are asked to forward (»www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/008.nsf/en ··· 034.html) as well as the cost of maintaining their notification system.

There are quite a few older threads in which subscribers have posted the notices they’ve received, but I’m wondering if anyone can comment with knowledge from the ISP side of things. Does anyone have any firsthand experience of how notices are/have been handled by Canadian ISPs? What practices or policies are followed (past or currently) by ISPs receiving notices from copyright owners? Are ISPs indeed having difficulty complying with the volume of notices? Do they respond to copyright owners as typically asked in the notice letters?

C-11's notice-and-notice requirements will have implications for both the small and large ISPs. Does anyone have any info on the current status of C-11 notice implementation and the talks around it? How close are the regulations to being finalized?

Beyond forwarding notices, does anyone have experience with an ISP taking more significant action against alleged infringement by a subscriber?

I'd be very happy to hear from anyone who can speak to any of the above questions - in confidence if preferred. I’ll also be trying to get in touch with individual ISPs about their views and experiences with copyright enforcement and the notice system, but would love to hear from any representatives or individuals willing to share.

Mike Zajko – Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

zajko at ualberta.ca (full project background, personal contact info, pgp available on request)