As part of the Harper Government’s efforts to modernise Canada’s copyright laws for the modern digital age, the Copyright Modernization Act formalizes the voluntary Notice and Notice regime. This regime, already used by some Canadian Internet service providers (ISP), is designed to notify users of alleged copyright infringement taking place at their Internet address. This is the final step in implementing the Copyright Modernization Act
The Notice and Notice regime is a made-in-Canada solution and will legally require Internet intermediaries, such as ISPs and website hosts, to take certain actions upon receiving a notice of alleged infringement from a copyright owner.
Specifically, ISPs and hosts are required to forward notices, sent by copyright owners, to users whose Internet address has been identified as being the source of possible infringement. The intermediary must also inform the copyright owner once the notice has been sent.
The Copyright Modernization Act sets clear rules on the content of these notices. Specifically, they must be in writing and state the claimant’s name and address, identify the material allegedly being infringed and the claimant’s right to it, as well as specify the infringing activity, the date and time of the alleged activity, and the electronic address associated with the incident. The Government is bringing the regime into force after determining that the Act provides sufficient flexibility for the regime to function without regulations.
Intermediaries must retain records associated with these notices for six months or longer (up to one year) in case a copyright owner decides to pursue legal action. A copyright owner can also send a notice to a search engine.
If a notice is sent to a search engine for allegedly infringing material on a website and that material has since been taken down, search engines are expected to remove any copies they may have generated (e.g. for caching purposes) within 30 days. If copies are not removed, copyright owners could pursue damages after 30 days.
The Notice and Notice regime will come into force six months following publication of the Order in Council. The Copyright Modernization Actwill be fully in force by January 2015. The Act also introduced a mandatory review of the Copyright Act every five years.