Frequently asked questions: Legislative Amendments to Copyright Act (Notice and Notice)

What is the Notice and Notice regime?

Notice and Notice is a tool established in the Copyright Act to help copyright owners address online copyright infringement. The mandatory regime requires Internet intermediaries, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to forward on notices from copyright owners to Internet subscribers to alert them that their Internet accounts have been linked to alleged infringing activities, such as the illegal downloading of movies. The regime entered into force in January 2015, formalizing a pre-existing voluntary industry practice.

Why is the Government proposing to amend the Notice and Notice regime?

Soon after the regime entered into force, controversy arose over the practice of including settlement demands within notices. This practice could lead to abuses, given that consumers may be pressured into disclosing personal information and making settlement payments even in situations where they have not engaged in any acts that violate copyright laws. This practice circumvents the established court process for the disclosure of subscriber information in the context of copyright infringement lawsuits, which provides safeguards with respect to the sending of settlement demand letters to Internet subscribers. It was not the policy intent that Notice and Notice would be used for this purpose. The Government is proposing amendments to close this loophole and clarify that the sending of such notices does not comply with the Notice and Notice regime.

What changes is the Government proposing to make to the Notice and Notice regime?

The proposed amendments to the Copyright Act would clarify that a notice containing an offer to settle, or a request or demand for payment or for personal information, or a reference to any such offer, request or demand, in relation to the claimed infringement, does not comply with the regime. The proposed amendments would also help ‘future-proof’ the regime by clarifying that the Governor in Council can make regulations prescribing other information that is not permitted to be contained in a notice.