TekSavvy will turn over the names of 2,000 alleged movie pirates

TekSavvy will turn over the names of 2,000 alleged movie pirates

(Image: Pirate flag: Chris Evans)

In a blow to internet freeloaders nationwide, a federal court decision released on Thursday compels TekSavvy, the Ontario-based discount broadband provider, to disclose the names of about 2,000 customers who are accused of having illegally downloaded movies. The case was initiated by Voltage Pictures, a U.S. production company with stakes in many movies, including 2010 Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.

Despite an attempt at legal intervention by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, judge Kevin Aalto determined that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that Voltage was engaging in “copyright trolling,” a term for when a company sends out flimsy copyright claims in an attempt to intimidate people into settling outside of court. And so Voltage is entitled to know who the alleged movie pirates are.

In the Star, technology writer Michael Geist points out that the news isn’t all bad for Canadian internet users. The court placed a number of restrictions on what Voltage can do with Teksavvy’s customer information. Voltage’s letters to the alleged copyright violators will be subject to court approval, and TekSavvy will have to be compensated for whatever money it spends complying with Voltage’s demands. And then there’s the matter of Canada’s $5,000 cap on damages awarded for non-commercial copyright infringement, which makes it difficult for copyright trolls to turn much of a profit here.

All of which is to say, things could be worse for the movie-downloading public. Even so, we’d recommend watching The Hurt Locker on Netflix, instead.