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Canada Prohibits Piracy Settlement Demands in ISP Copyright Notices (torrentfreak.com)
294 points by walterbell 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments

I started getting those emails just after the law changed a few years ago. Multiple emails per day. My ISP was forwarding them from some lawyer in California. I couldn't block them because they were coming from the same email that sends my bill. They were for things i'd never downloaded or even watched. A whole bunch of 8GB files of movies i'd never even heard of.

I called my ISP they said they were forced to send them to me and recommended I stopped downloading things....

First of all there's no way in hell i'm gonna download an 8GB video...period...second...i'd never even heard of those movies...so fuck that...

I looked up the lawyer that the letters were coming from, found out he was some random copyright troll and had been harassing people in canada all over the place pretty much the day after the laws changed. So I found a fax number for their office and with a handy little script...I showed them what it was like to be flooded by bullshit.

The letters stopped within a day and I haven't gotten one since.

> So I found a fax number for their office and with a handy little script...I showed them what it was like to be flooded

That is fantastic. What did the script do? Did you roll your own fax software, or use some third-party/open source binary? I'm curious because every 2-3 years I'm required to send some stupid fax, and I never really found a good (free) way to do it.

I found something that let me send an image as a fax. It was a while ago. I really searched for this. I don't think I still have it. I only ever used it for that and that was on an older computer. The script just used a binary to send an image I had prepared with some text asking them to kindly stop emailing me...well...maybe not so kindly and it sent the image as fast as a fax machine would allow. I imagine they ran out of paper fairly quick...or the machine locked up...but it seemed to work.

It was some small project I found on github or something. I had to compile it. Sorry I can't be more helpful. I think I searched for send fax from linux and variatins of that.

The vast majority of incoming fax numbers now don't physically print a fax, they just turn into PDF files, so unless you've visited their office in person and confirmed the presence of a physical fax machine, it may be a futile effort.


Back before this was true we were receiving fax spam advertising by the ton. Eventually I cellotaped several together, dialed their number and when the fax started sending, cellopated the end of the fax to the beginning of it, making a literal loop. I guessed (correctly) that it was an office, and faxed it in the early evening and it ran all night. I received an angry hand written fax from them the next day then nothing more.

However, those services might have a cost, so if you spam them 10000 faxes, they might hit a limit and get charged more or even block their service.

You can still fill up their inbox and greatly inconvenience them.

It's probably this. When I worked in insurance, as things got backed up, people would begin refaxing the same claim because they didn't have their check yet. So we ended up with multiple copies of many claims in our electronic queue system.

It was about that point where the company would start asking people to work overtime to try to get the backlog under control. People would fax and refax, then call and we would get an internal message from the call center asking us to prioritize this claim, etc. The behinder we got, the behinder we got because now we were having to look through multiple copies of the same file only to determine they were all duplicates and so forth.

Even without paper copies of faxes, faxing someone a ton of stuff over and over creates problems on the receiving end.

>now we were having to look through multiple copies of the same file only to determine they were all duplicates and so forth.

That sounds like a old fashioned ways in front of a problem, and in front of a solution.

There are multiple automated(or even just "hand" sorting) solutions that could chew through the duplicates.

It's been a few years since I had that job. I don't doubt things have changed in that time.

Even better. Fill up their hard drive and make the computer stop working every every day

What about the phone line though? You need a 56kbps modem or something?

Some broadband routers allow sending and receiving faxes on VOIP lines, which is handy because they are left on just like fax machines, but can be instructed to relay via email or save received faxes onto an usb key with no waste of paper.

> I couldn't block them because they were coming from the same email that sends my bill.

If you hadn't fixed it already I would recommend seeing if there is anything in the subject or body that you can use to filter the emails with.

Now if we could just stop copyright third party enforcement companies from sending DMCA notices and automated threats to Canadian ISPs with ARIN IP space, where the dmca does not apply. Pretty much all go to /dev/null.

It's amusing how fully automated American legal threats make the default assumption that everywhere on the internet is subject to American federal laws.

The traditional email inbox abuse@ispname.com is supposed to be used for actual network operational issues which impact the health of a network (ddos, IP space hijacks, SMTP blacklists, abusive colo and dedicated server customers, etc).

We changed the URL from https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20181218/16044141262/canad..., which points to that. This is in keeping with the site guidelines, which call for original sources.


If I remember right, torrentfreak is set to be severely penalized on HN by the mods. My memory is fuzzy, but I recall reading that around the time of piratebay/pirate party one of the mods said that they wanted to lower how long those stories stayed on the front page. Naturally they can have removed that by now.

Techdirt is not blogspam, it's a 12+ year old and generally well respected site that covers issues of interest to those who support the EFF, and similar.

Blogspam is a blog taking content from the original source and reprinting it without any substantial improvement over the original source. It has nothing to do with the reputation or reliability of the blog, just the content.

I guess ppl in the US still download content?

There are so many paid and non-paid streaming options to choose from it makes me wonder why download content?

Modern streaming have changed the pirating landscape, no doubt. This is especially true of music, where there is a plethora of good selection.

However this isn't as much the case with movies/TV. Streaming in that realm is fractured, expensive, and most of the offerings are poor. With music you subscribe to service X and get access to 90% or more of what you'd want. With movies or TV, you have to subscribe to a handful of services all at once just to get access to maybe half of the content you'd want to watch. $10/mo for music, okay. Netflix+Hulu+HBO+Amazon+etc; adds up fast.

Outside of Netflix, every other provider has some combination of terrible app/UI, streaming problems, or ads.

Even if you look past all that, how do you play all these subscriptions? The device landscape fragments everything further. And god help you if you want global search on all your subscriptions, or want access to an Apple library.

Contrasted with pirating + Plex? Yeah...

And the problem is only getting worse as all the big players in market continue to wage war. See, for example, Disney pulling out and forming their own subscription.

Don't get me wrong. I think the world is better today than it was when all we had was cable. All of these content companies getting direct access to subscription money is incentivizing productions that could never have existed under the older ad-driven models. But in terms of overcoming piracy? They are leagues away.

I think music streaming has taken out the bulk of music piracy but there is still a lively power user music piracy scene. The motivations for these users seem to be about having access to really obscure content that isn't available on many services and only in low quality on YouTube. Another motervation is being able to preserve your collection. If you spend decades building playlists and collections you don't want all of that wiped out if your account gets banned or the company goes out of business. Another value add from these music sharing sites is discovery via community recommendations rather than an algorithm telling you what to listen to.

I don't think music piracy will ever die without lowering prices. This month I spent $70 on music and I torrented about $1000 worth. If I stopped torrenting there would be no extra money going to content owners because I already spend as much as I can afford on music.

Another motivation is not being tied to Internet. It's pretty ridiculous, if you think of it, to require an Internet connection to play a piece of music. Yes, some services do offer "offline mode", but when you store the data locally anyway, then why not get it as a file you can actually own, edit, and move between devices yourself?

(The same argument applies to movies, books and video games, but all of all these, a piece music is most likely to be re-listened to many, many times.)

Another motivation is data formats. Streaming services don't exactly offer highest quality, and while a normal person may not even hear a difference (especially with cheap sound equipment), audiophiles care about this.

Music pirates will never dispersal as long as music creators pirate music, which seems about as common as the troop of a bands with no money, playing live for almost nothing, and people dreaming of creating that one hit song.

Outside of Netflix? Netflix is absolutely included in having those problems. They are actually the worst in some ways.

Their UI is pretty awful and only ever gets worse. They even have plenty of ads - granted just for their own content, but still. It's ads. And extremely intrusive ones - big autoplay videos that default to sound on (it does at least remember when you mute them) and other large banners inserted right into the middle of the selection page.

Netflix is even "amazing" in a way that they'll block playback of the movies you've LEGALLY DOWNLOADED to your device IN THEIR APP when you go on a vacation. Seriously.

And in the end the lesson is:

People are lazy. They will use the easiest process, even if they have to pay it.

Of course! But that's a double-edged sword.

As a user, I'm lazy. I want to watch a movie, not deal with billing bullshit of some company. For them it may be the most important part, for me it's just an incidental task, a speedbump on the road to my goal. As a user with some disposable income, I'm actually willing to pay extra to make this problem less inconvenient.

Having to worry which platform to pay this month in advance, who streams what at which point, and whether or not the movie isn't already gone from all of them because of $reasons, is making things more inconvenient. Very quickly, torrenting looks more attractive again - it offers better UX, and you get to keep a file in the end, DRM-free.

(And if you're afraid of torrenting while living in a country where only uploading is illegal, there's plenty of bootleg streaming services that offer worse movie quality and throw in occasional cryptominer with their ads, but are still less of a hassle than juggling multiple "legit" streaming services, and give you movies & series that are no longer available on any "legit" one, again because $reasons.)

Billing inconvenience? Remembering who to pay in advance? You sound like the black and white intro of an infomercial where the actors fumble around with a perfectly good pair of scissors or demonstrate how putting on shoes is so hard.

You give your credit card information one time (mine autofills from my password manager.) And then they autobill you each month. Never causes me any hassle.

If I want to watch a particular movie or TV series, it's nontrivial to find which service (if any!) offers it and is willing to stream it to your country - your example would apply only if it was possible to subscribe to a single service offered all or most content in the world, but it doesn't work that way for legal services for all kinds of licensing reasons. Even the fact that it was available there last year doesn't imply that it will be available there now, licensing deals change all the time.

Maybe so.

For me, the criterion is whether I can download it, without any DRM. So I can access whenever I like. Without fear of inactivation. And without having usage tracked.

This is a big one. If bandcamp shuts down my library is safe. if steam shuts down or bans me I have lost everything.

Here at HN you are probably not alone, but for the majority of the users, they don't even know what DRM is.

They may not, but most are aware, and annoyed, when they can't play their iTunes music on a different device or when things they bought go away when that streaming service changes things

First off, this post isn't intended to encourage any illegal activity.

It might have something to do with the fact that despite being free to operate above the table and having large revenue flows, user experience is often better on the dark side. Which is just baffling.

With a decent ad/popup blocker and browser setup, some shady server in Vietnam called "watchallseriesonline.interbutt" or whatever is simply more pleasant than hunting down which streaming service has your content, having to buy all of them anyway, dealing with strange and futile DRM plugins, deal with industry drama, deal with hostile "engagement-driving" user interfaces, etc etc. The IP owners are nearly always a convoluted web of big telecom corporations who are battling with each other to ensure that all users are losers by wantonly Balkanizing all our culture's media.

Add to that the fact that almost all legit streamers immediately triple-dip on their customers. They charge subscriptions, they shovel ads at their users despite the fact it's a paid service, and they suck up and gargle all their user's personal data and sell it to the highest bidder or fumble it to some hacker. Some torrent site will also try and do all that, but in a way that's a lot easier to sidestep.

I mean I guess it sucks for the content owners (often not the actual creators as stated above, but that's another story) but there needs to be at least some good faith from them before they expect an unorganized mass of millions of independent users to return good faith to them. Masses of people respond to incentives and are basically deterministic. Telling them "you should really do this, it's the right thing to do" and expecting a demand-side miracle is just irrational.

>convoluted web of big telecom corporations who are battling with each other to ensure that all users are losers by wantonly Balkanizing all our culture's media.

No doubt, right? I want to watch a Canadian artist sing a song about Canada, at a Canadian event, and get told "Not available in your country."

Streaming is a huge pain compared to playing files on disk. Pick a service, navigate its messy UI, hope it has what you want, use the poor in-browser video player (or terrible, slow, buggy app)... Or search through a folder, double-click, done.

Also streaming requires reliable high-speed internet. This is easy to take for granted when you live in a major metro area, but for more rural users, high speed internet may not be available at all.

Also, while this may not be usually a problem with Netflix, in general streaming also requires enough servers on the other end, and uncongested pipe between them and you. I think most of us experienced the cases where, despite being on a reliable high-speed Internet connection, the movie still keeps pausing every minute or three, because it's not streaming fast enough to keep up with wall clock.

So you can play it without depending on that service? The streaming service might close its doors, lose its license to the content you want, raise prices, start interjecting ads... who knows.

Personally, I listen to some obscure (in the West) music from Japan and it’s difficult to locate in any service other than YouTube. YouTube videos can be and are deleted at any time with no warning, and they only let you ‘offline’ them while they are available online.

Losing the license is a biggie. Can’t tell you how many of the things I watched got pulled from Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Many people have no choice if they want anything over 360p video because their internet is too shit to stream better.

Not just in the US. For video, even in Europe prices are still too high and the market is too fragmented.

You know what I’d really pay for? A good recommendation engine that can point me to anything in any language based on my taste.

So it will be truely mine.

Not just theoretical either. Verizon sold out to Frontier. Guess what happened to many of the movies I "bought"? Poof. Gone. No recourse either, unless I want to file in small claims court.

Gonna take a wild guess how that adventure will unfold.

Oh he'd definitely win a few hundred bucks.

It's faster depending on quality / service provider. 4k over streaming can cause buffer issues.

Now that rightsholders aren't allowed to settle a deal through ISPs, maybe they will go to court and ask copyright infringers to pay the full penalty.

This could actually be worse for copyright infringers...

Except that in Canada, they can’t take the “infringer” to court without unmasking the IP, which they can only do via a legal battle in court with the ISP.

The math doesn’t make that economical unless you’re going after an astonishingly large infringer.

I don't think it requires going to court. This discovery is known as a "Norwich order", and while there's a burden of evidence to prove that the order is justified, it's not a "battle" and the ISP wouldn't be trying to argue against it.

There was actually a very recent SCC case [1] between Rogers and a copyright enforcer, where Rogers was appealing a federal court decision that Rogers itself had to bear the cost of fulfilling these orders. If that stood, it would give copyright enforcers carte blanche to pursue copyright suits against minor violators.

[1] Commentary here: http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/750214/Media+Entertainment+La...

I don't know about your ISP, but I'm pretty sure my ISP would battle the hell out of anything concerning my privacy.

Link in Swedish: https://www.bahnhof.se/press/press-releases/2016/02/24/bahnh...

Yes, but Bahnhof is very much an exception in the world of ISPs. I'm not at all sure I would be able to rely on my ISP, Telenor Norway, to the same degree.

Maximum non-commercial penalty for copyright infringement in Canada is $5000 (about $3700 USD today).

I don't think taking people to court has a great cost-benefit ratio.

Is that per infraction?

If you're using BitTorrent with multiple people downloading from you, that could turn into serious money quickly.


This is for civil actions, the police can still go after large infringers. But no one wants the circus that the US has with people who cannot afford to defend themselves flooding the court system over copyright infringement.

Actual legal process? The horror.

So you’re saying that you prefer extrajudicial copyright proceedings? Seems like an awful idea to me.

I prefer a world where agents can negotiate deals rather than a world where they can't.

Agents CAN DEFINITELY still negotiate a deal...so long they know who they're actually negotiating with.

This bill makes sure they target the right people and use due process to actually go after infringers, not pull some sort of scam to throw bait and see who bites.

That’s not a negotiation, that’s a shakedown.

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