Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Alex Cameron Reports on P2P Conference and Points to Difference Between Canadian and US Courts Handling RIAA Cases

p2pnet presents an excellent report by Alex Cameron, a member of the faculty of the University of Ottowa Law School, who compares the approach taken by the Canadian courts to that taken so far by the U.S. courts, in the RIAA cases:

I learned Canadians have some good reasons to be proud about the approach that our courts and policy makers have taken to the issue of p2p litigation and copyright reform more generally (at least when compared to the approaches taken in the US).

It was astonishing to me to hear anecdotes about how US courts have so unquestioningly accepted “evidence” from RIAA and its investigator MediaSentry, effectively opening the litigation floodgates on potentially innocent individuals alleged to have engaged in file-sharing. In Canada, our Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal asked what I consider common sense questions about how the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and MediaSentry went about their investigations.

After asking these questions, our courts refused to order ISPs to identify their targeted customers because the courts were not satisfied with the quality of evidence put forward by MediaSentry.

Given the risk that innocent people could be exposed to lawsuits, our courts refused to order ISPs to hand over individuals’ names to CRIA. US courts do not appear to be asking the same questions (in part I suppose because of differences in the law). Whether this relatively unquestioning approach will carry forward into the determination of the substantive copyright issues remains to be seen, particularly given that those determinations could have such devastating consequences for individuals as described above.

Complete text of report

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The MediaSentry testimony proved how inaccurate their evidence collection can be. In fact, they do not even prove that a specific person was in front of the computer, and don't even verify that the songs are what they are what they are, much less their origin.

If this were a criminal case, that would be insufficent forensic evidence to prove that a crime was committed.

What is very odvious is that an IP address is nowhere accurate as DNA, and that not everything can be proved by remote spying.

I hope that the RIAA loses some cases because of this, and should have the burden of proof. I also predict that there may be a counterclaim of the person paying the bill not be liable for others on the network.

I personally think based on their testimony, you could successfully strike their evidence.