ITSS

THE COPYRIGHT ACT’S NOTICE AND NOTICE PROVISIONS NOW IN FORCE

The Copyright Act’s “Notice and Notice” provisions came into force on January 2, 2015.

What is Notice and Notice?

As background, it is necessary to understand that:

  • Many content owners monitor the Internet (and in particular, websites that use the BitTorrent protocol) to identify when their content is being copied and to learn the IP address that is associated with each instance of copying.
  • The content owner usually cannot find the identity of the user of that IP address, but they can find the identity of the user’s digital network provider.

Notice and Notice is a colloquial name for the provisions of the Copyright Act that require infringement notices issued by content owners to be forwarded to users.

The process involves a content owner sending an infringement notice to the user’s digital network provider, and the digital network provider forwarding that notice to the user.

If a digital network provider fails to forward the notice, it may be exposed to a significant financial penalty.

The process is described in more detail below, in the section entitled “How does Notice and Notice Work?”

What does this mean at Saint Mary's University?

The Notice and Notice provisions apply to Saint Mary's University and community in several ways:

  • Under the Copyright Act, Saint Mary's University is considered to be a digital network provider. Therefore, Saint Mary's University must forward infringement notices it receives.
  • Saint Mary's University faculty members, staff members and students may be content owners. If they believe that their material has been copied illegally, they now have a means to communicate with the person who made the copy, as the first step to enforcing their copyright.
  • Saint Mary's University faculty members, staff members and students may use content that they obtain on the Internet. Copyright compliance is not only a legal requirement, but good academic practice. Any Saint Mary's University faculty member, staff member or student who copies content from the Internet in breach of copyright should expect to receive a copyright infringement notice.

Four important details

  • Saint Mary's University will not disclose the identity of the user to the content owner, unless required to so by a court order or other legal process.
  • Content owners monitor the use of IP addresses to determine whether their copyright has been infringed. Saint Mary's University is not involved in this process.
  • Saint Mary's University does not evaluate the legitimacy of the notices it receives. The fact that Saint Mary's University is forwarding a notice does not mean that Saint Mary's University in any way endorses or supports the allegations contained in the notice. Saint Mary's University is merely forwarding notices as required by law.
  • The Notice and Notice system does not otherwise change the existing laws that govern the use of copyrighted materials. 

How does Notice and Notice work?

The steps are as follows:

  • Many content owners and their agents monitor the internet to see if their copyrighted works are being shared.  Popular file-sharing sites that use the BitTorrent protocol are actively monitored.
  • A content owner learns that their content has been copied, and that that copying is, in their view, an infringement of copyright.
  • Usually, the content owner does not know the identity of the user who has made the allegedly infringing copy, but does know the IP address of the device that made the copy, and which digital network provider is responsible for that IP address.
  • The content owner sends an infringement notice to the digital network provider.
  • The Notice and Notice regime legally requires the digital network provider to:
    • Make reasonable efforts to identify the user associated with the IP address listed in the infringement notice.
      • Either:
        • If the user can be identified, to forward the infringement notice to the user and notify the content owner that the notice was forwarded; or
        • If the user cannot be identified, to notify the content owner that the notice was not forwarded.
    • Keep records for six months (or 12 months if legal proceedings are commenced)
  • If the digital network provider receives an infringement notice, but does not comply with its obligations under the Notice and Notice regime, the content owner may seek statutory damages against the digital network provider. The statutory damages will be determined by a court, but shall be at least $5,000 and up to $10,000 per notice not forwarded.

If you have any questions about Notice and Notice, please see Industry Canada’s website.