Canadian Court Limits Disclosure of Personal Information in Reverse Class-Action Suit

    Sep 13, 2016

    Canada’s Copyright Act does not provide a mechanism for copyright owners to enforce their rights via an Internet service provider (ISP) against alleged but unknown infringers, except that ISPs can be required to disclose only the subscriber names and addresses of alleged infringers as part of a discovery request. That was the ruling of a Canadian court in a reverse class-action law suit for alleged copyright infringement. In the case, Voltage Pictures LLC sought to require ISP Rogers Communications to disclose any and all contact and personal information of a Rogers customer who is accused of engaging in illegal file sharing over the Internet.

    “I have determined that Rogers must disclose to the Applicants only the Subscriber’s name and address as recorded in its records,” Judge Keith Boswell stated in his July 28 opinion. “Rogers should not be compelled to disclose any other personal information about the Subscriber it may have in its records, such as his or her email address or telephone number.” 

    According to the opinion, the Copyright Act requires the ISP only to forward the copyright owner’s notice of claimed infringement electronically to the Internet protocol address of the alleged infringer, and to retain records to allow the subscriber’s identity to be determined if needed should an infringement case proceed.

     This monthly advisory contains brief summaries of recent legislative and regulatory issues that may affect the management of records and information in Canada.

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