June 20, 2005

Is P2P Downloading Still Legal in Canada?

There appears to be some debate about whether proposed amendments to Canada's copyright laws will still make it legal to download music using P2P networks. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, believes there's nothing in the amendments, which were unveiled yesterday by the Canadian government, that make downloading illegal. The Canadian Recording Industry Association, however, contends downloading is illegal. So what is it? What is clear is the music industry was handed a number of new tools to fight copyright infringment. The amendments also make it illegal to shares music on P2P networks. ISPs will be pleased because they will not be held accountable legally for content that is cached or hosted on their systems. The ISPs, however, will have to comply with “notice and notice” rules that allow the music industry compel ISPs to inform subscribers who are breaching copyright laws. After this takes place, ISPs have to keep subscriber information for six months. All in all, the amendments are a huge victory for the music industry but we'll have to wait for clarification on P2P downloading.

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