so wat there sayin is its illeagal to upload right and not illagal to download?
Court proceedings to sue those who share their music collections with millions around the world got underway in a Toronto courtroom today.
The Canadian Recording Industry Association asked a Federal Court for permission to smoke out music pirates from the protection of Internet Service Providers.
Mirroring action taken last year by the recording industry in the United States, CRIA argued the country's five biggest Internet service providers should name people who upload a large number of music files.
"Our message is for all Canadians. You've got to go off the illegal sites and stop uploading music. Everyone recognizes this sort of distribution is illegal under Canadian law," Richard Pfohl, the lawyer representing the music industry, including the Canadian branches of BMG, EMI, Warner, Virgin and Universal, said outside court. "People have to realize there are consequences when you break the law in Canada."
After legal arguments by all the parties, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein adjourned the proceedings until March 12. He asked each ISP to file more submissions about the technical requirements of connecting individuals by their numeric Internet protocol (commonly known as IP) address and how disclosing home addresses would affect privacy legislation.
Last week the music industry filed motions against 29 John and Jane Does who it alleges are high-volume music traders, storing thousands of MP3 files on their hard drives.
Today, CRIA started to work through the courts to learn the identities of those people, currently identifiable only through IP numbers and user handles like Jordana(at)KaZaA who, according to court documents, allegedly uploaded songs by Jay Z, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez.
It wants Bell Canada, Rogers, Shaw, Telus and Videotron to hand over names, home addresses and e-mails, currently protected by privacy laws.
Vancouver-based Telus said today identifying Internet surfers by their handles isn't simple. For example, said lawyer Joel Watson, one of the three names Telus has been asked to fork over didn't even have an account with the company during the alleged uploading infringement.
"It shows the frailty of the system," Watson said outside court.
Like people in the U.S. found out last year, IP address owners aren't necessarily those of the culprits. In one case, an elderly grandparent who'd never turned on a computer was sued for the actions of his grandchildren.
Calgary-based Shaw Communications argued that its obligations to clients under federal privacy legislation trump the rights of the recording industry under copyright law.
The others are taking softer approaches. Bell Canada and Rogers want time to notify their clients so alleged music thieves have time to retain a lawyer.
"It's important that before any order be granted that people who have the most interest and information and knowledge have an ability to speak to the court and make their voice be heard," Bell's lawyer Katherine Podrebarac said outside court.
Bell and some of the others have already contacted alleged uploaders to give them a heads up of the court proceedings.
Quebec's Videotron is the only company not fighting the order, saying owner Quebecor is concerned about piracy in other parts of its business, which include newspapers, television, Internet services and CDs.
Despite the adjournment to March, CRIA said it was certain lawsuits would soon be filed.
"We're confident that as soon as these issues are sorted out that the names will be disclosed," said Pfohl outside court. "We're going after people for whom we have evidence that they have taken hundreds or thousands of other people's songs and they've put them on the Internet available to anywhere between three and five million people at any given time."
Like recording industries around the world, Canada's has been battling a four-year slump in CD sales that it blames on the explosion of music file-sharing that first started when Napster surfaced in the late 1990s.
The Canadian industry claims it has lost more than $425 million in retail sales of music since 1999 resulting in staff layoffs of about 20 per cent.
Record companies were successful in suing Napster out of business in 2001, but have not had similar victories against more elusive and prolific successors, including Kazaa and Morpheus.
While consumers have begun to warm up to paid music download services, such as Puretracks, no service has emerged as a clear alternative to the selection of tracks by the illegal file-sharing services.