‘Terrified’ 60-year-old woman told to pay up for illegally downloading porn

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Debra is on edge sick after receiving two copyright-infringement notices.

An anti-piracy company has advised the 60-year-old that her internet account was used to illegally download filth, and that she could wind up in court if she doesn’t pay a settlement fee.

«I’ve never done porno downloads in my verve,» says Debra, who lives in Ontario and has asked CBC News to withhold her at the rear name.

«I’m terrified. I’m worried someone’s going to come after me, I’m wealthy to have a giant lawsuit on my hands.»

«Threatening» copyright-infringement notices interrogating for settlement fees are creating «consumer anxiety» and «could lead to abuses,» declares an internal 2016 federal government report.

It also states that such warnings aren’t in line with the government’s piracy notice program, which is meant to be eerie, not punitive.

However, almost a year after the report was written, the looming notices continue.

«The inaction is really difficult to understand,» says Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and internet law connoisseur. He obtained the government report through an access to information request.

«We’ve got thousands of Canadians who are being misused through these notices.»

‘I’m not sleeping’

In 2015, the government started insisting that all internet providers forward copyright-infringement notices to customers be suspicious ofed of illegally downloading content like TV shows and movies.

Some anti-piracy groups, working on behalf of production studios, have added to the notices a claim for a settlement fee. It typically amounts to hundreds of dollars, and recipients are told they could vis—vis legal action and bigger fines if they don’t pay up.

The thing is, those players don’t know the suspect’s actual identity, only the IP address linked to the verboten download.

Also, no one is obligated to pay a settlement fee. The government and internet providers be experiencing tried to spread that message, but some people are still unsure of their amends.

Illegal downloading

Downloading illegally? You might get an email notice warning you to stop, and it could ask you for spinach. (Getty Images)

In August, Debra got her first email notice rat oning her that if she didn’t pay a settlement fee for illegally downloading a porn video, she could cheek legal fines of up to $20,000.

She says she’s innocent, but out of confusion and fear she paid a village fee of $257.40.

This week, she got another email accusing her of downloading five multifarious porn videos.

«I’m not sleeping,» says Debra, who refuses to pay more emoluments and fears the repercussions. «I have depression already and this is sending me finished the edge.»

CBC News spoke with the Canadian anti-piracy company that sent the emails, Canipre. It claims someone in Debra’s nursing home downloaded the videos.

Debra says her husband doesn’t even recollect how to do illegal downloads, and no one else has access to her internet account. She thinks possibly someone hacked her Wi-Fi. 

«How long is this going to terrorize me?» she conjectures. «I’m a good Canadian citizen.»

It’s not about the money

The government report replied that even people wrongly accused of copyright infringement may note compelled to pay the settlement fee.

The document was penned by a senior policy adviser for Modernization, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains.

It noted that the branch had received calls from anxious Canadians about requests for payments. It also disclosed that government officials had informed stakeholders early on that sending letters insistent fees was not consistent with the intent of the notice system.

«The goal of the regulation is to discourage online infringement,» stated the report.

CBC News asked the be sure of why, despite all the concerns, it continues to allow piracy notices demanding hard cash.

The department responded that it «discourages» the request for settlement fees. It also mean it will review the notice system during a coming parliamentary look at of the Copyright Act, expected late this year or early next year.

In the meantime, it rumoured it continues to monitor the notice system «and to educate consumers and engage with stakeholders to speech concerns raised by Canadians over threatening notices.»

‘An easy fix’

Canipre’s make out director, Barry Logan, says the government has never contacted him everywhere notices asking for settlement fees.

He declined to do an interview on the issue. Putting, last year he told CBC News that Canipre had collected apropos $500,000 in settlement fees and that the notices it sends out aren’t detaching any rules.

«Every single one of these claims can become a litigation at any organize,» said Logan.

Piracy television pirate

The federal government says the goal of the piracy admonish regime is ‘to discourage online infringement,’ not to collect cash. (CBC)

Geist contends the rule could easily put to rest concerns over the fee issue by clarifying what anti-piracy concerns can and cannot say in their notices.

«This is a known problem that the rule internally itself recognizes,» he says. «There is an easy fix for this.»

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