American Copyright Trolls Continue To Abuse Canadian Courts In Search Of Easy Settlements

from the canada-nice-meets-american-thuggery dept

In the United States, copyright trolls are finding it more difficult to save on filing fees by pursuing file sharers en masse. More than a few judges have shot down attempts to file infringement suits against “Does 1-30,” etc., ruling that these defendants are improperly joined.

Meanwhile, in Canada, copyright trolls are trying a novel approach to suing alleged file sharers in big bunches: the reverse class action. Voltage Pictures is suing a nominative “class” of Does yet to be named for copyright infringement. This is its attempt to route around restrictions placed on it by another court, as well as the costs associated with complying with the demands.

But in doing so, Voltage Pictures is making a mess of Canadian privacy laws. Rogers, the service provider standing between Voltage and the subscriber information it’s demanding, wants to know why the studio is abusing Canada’s “notice and notice” system to obtain information it’s not supposed to be able to acquire without a court order.

[V]oltage is using the notice-and-notice system to argue that it is entitled to subscriber information. It argues in court documents that the system is designed to allow copyright holders to “inexpensively identify and locate the infringers of copyright.”

Yet the reality is that the government did not intend for the rules to make it easy to disclose the identity of alleged infringers, with the ISPs prohibited from simply handing over such information.

Canadian courts have established rules that may compel ISPs to hand over subscriber information, but there are strict limitations in how the information can be used and restrictions on public disclosure.

The “notice and notice” system is supposed to be used by ISPs to pass on infringement allegations to affected customers. What it’s not supposed to do is provide subscriber info to rights holders. In the past, rights holders have routed around this perceived “limitation” by inserting settlement demands into something that’s only supposed to be a notification.

Now, in this reverse class action, Voltage is going to use whichever subscriber name it happens to pry loose first as the “lead defendant” in the lawsuit. Instead of “Doe,” the lawsuit will be amended to carry that unlucky person’s name on the first page, and designate that person as “representative” of every other Doe Voltage has yet to unmask. Obviously, the privacy implications for that person are immense.

By using this odd tactic, Voltage can hope to extract subscriber info that wouldn’t be released to it under the “notice and notice” system. The reversal of roles in the litigation also poses other problems. While it’s not too tough for multiple plaintiffs to secure representation in class action suits against a single, most-likely profitable corporation, it’s highly unlikely that the “class action” defendants will find adequate representation, either as a group or individually.

In total, this role reversal is nothing more than a trolling operation trying to maintain maximum efficiency by routing around any obstacles placed before it by courts or legislators. Using nothing more than batches of IP addresses harvested by “infringement monitoring” software, Voltage and others are continuing to attempt to convert courtrooms into revenue streams.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: rogers, voltage pictures

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “American Copyright Trolls Continue To Abuse Canadian Courts In Search Of Easy Settlements”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Blargle Flarglesays:

Misplaced Corporate Focus

Looking at their portfolio of recent and upcoming pictures, it’s clear to see that Voltage’s focus is not on quality of output, nor on engaging fans with media-savvy interaction and events, but instead, they’re focused on a legal crackdown.

They’re still bent out of shape from losing “The Hurt Locker” wars.


I wonder if they know...

The Canadian legal system does not suffer as much from frivolous lawsuits because it is far, far easier than the American system for the winner to collect legal costs from the loser. IIRC that happens a lot more often than not. There’s a real cost to failing to win a lawsuit you launch.

(I recall some recent class action suit that failed to get off the ground when the lawyers for the “group” could not produce a bond for the possible legal fees of the company they wanted to sue.)

That One Guysays:

Re: Re: I wonder if they know...

Ah, but that’s where one of the tricks in the troll portfolio may come into play. You say it’s easier to get legal costs if you win, but does that apply if the one making the accusation(Voltage in this case) drops the case?

Standard copyright troll behavior is to throw as many ‘names’ into the mix as possible, both to make it look more serious to the judge and make them more willing to compel the production of personal info(‘for the lawsuit’ of course) and so they have more marks to threaten, send out shakedown letters to all of them, collect from those that can’t/don’t fight back and drop the cases from those that do to avoid having to present any evidence that could be challenged.

They’re in it to make money, not spend it, so actually taking the matter to court, especially an adversarial court, is something they avoid whenever possible. Funny how the troll’s zeal for ‘enforcing their copyrights’ crumbled as soon as it looks like they might have to spend money to do it, or present their evidence where it can be challenged. Purely a coincidence I’m sure… /s


I’ve seen a whole six Voltage Pictures films and four of them turned out to be crap. Survival of the Dead and A Fantastic Fear of Everything weren’t bad (thank goodness for rental DVD shops) but don’t rate more than one viewing. It’s no wonder they have to resort to trolling to make money to recoup the losses made on their other rubbish.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow