Conservatives must close copyright law loophole to end false threats: NDP

The Conservatives must take immediate steps to protect internet users by closing a loophole that allows media companies to bully Canadians with threats of hefty fines that don’t actually exist under Canadian law.

“Canadians are receiving notices threatening them with fines thirty times higher than the law allows for allegedly downloading copyrighted material,” said NDP Industry Critic Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park). “The Conservatives are letting these companies send false legal information to Canadians in order to scare them into paying settlements for movies or music no one has even proved they’ve actually downloaded.”

Sample letters show companies threatening fines of up to $150,000, but the maximum penalty under Canadian law is actually capped at $5,000. The Industry Minister has failed to introduce regulations prohibiting such false claims in notice and notice letters.

“Canadians have a responsibility to follow the law and ensure artists are compensated for their work,” said Nash. “But the Conservatives have a duty to protect the public against companies that try to intimidate Canadians by sending them false legal information. They need to close the loopholes now.”