Supreme Court sides with Rogers in il­le­gal movie down­load­ing case

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES / BUSINESS -

upon pay­ment of a fee - $100 per hour of work plus HST.

Volt­age Pic­tures and its movie com­pany al­lies hope to even­tu­ally ob­tain the in­for­ma­tion of tens of thou­sands of sus­pected copy­right in­fringers, and they ar­gued the fed­eral leg­isla­tive regime pre­cluded Rogers from charg­ing a fee.

In 2016 the Fed­eral Court said Rogers was en­ti­tled to levy the fee but the de­ci­sion was over­turned the fol­low­ing year on ap­peal, prompt­ing the tele­com com­pany to take its case to the Supreme Court.

Rogers said the ap­peal was about who must bear the costs of en­forc­ing copy­right on the in­ter­net: the copy­right owner who launches the pro­ceed­ing, and who can col­lect back costs from an in­fringer, or a third-party In­ter­net ser­vice provider, whose only op­tion is to raise prices for its cus­tomers.

Rogers uses an au­to­mated sys­tem to send a no­tice to the more than 200,000 al­leged copy­right in­fringers brought to its at­ten­tion each month - some­thing it is re­quired to do un­der the Copy­right Act with­out charg­ing a fee.

But Rogers said it should be com­pen­sated for the steps it must take when con­fronted with a court or­der from a movie com­pany or other copy­right holder for the name and ad­dress of a sub­scriber.

In writ­ing on be­half of eight of the mem­bers of the Supreme Court, Jus­tice Rus­sell Brown noted Rogers un­der­takes an eight-step man­ual process to com­ply with such an or­der. But he in­di­cated it was un­clear how many of those steps Rogers must carry out at no cost un­der the law.

Brown said Rogers and other ser­vice providers are en­ti­tled to “rea­son­able costs of steps that are nec­es­sary to dis­cern a per­son’s iden­tity” us­ing the records it is re­quired to keep.

He added that while these costs “may well be small,” it is im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine them based on cur­rent ev­i­dence, mean­ing a fresh Fed­eral Court hear­ing must be held to as­sess fees a provider can charge.

While agree­ing with the ma­jor­ity, Jus­tice Suzanne Cote went fur­ther, say­ing Rogers should be able to levy a fee for all eight steps it takes to re­spond to a court or­der.

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