VoltagePictures LLC v. John Doe and Jane Doe, 2014 FC 161

The Court framed the issues on this motion as whether a person who downloads copyrighted material has a right to not have their contact information revealed to the copyright holder, and if they are infringing copyright what remedy, if any, should the court impose. In brief, Voltage  is seeking the names and addresses of 2,000 ISP subscribers who allegedly downloaded Voltage’s films, including The Hurt Locker. The intervener CIPPIC alleged Voltage was a copyright troll seeking to intimidate individuals into easy settlements by way of demand letters and threats of litigation. The ISP TekSavvy took no position on the motion.

The Court held that Voltage demonstrated a bona fide case of copyright infringement, and therefore a Norwich order requiring TekSavvy to release the names of the ISP subscribers was granted. A major issue revolved around whether Voltage needed to show a prima facie case, or  a bona fide case. In the end, the Court followed an earlier Court of Appeal decision, holding the plaintiff to only show a bona fide case, which it did as alleged in the Statement of Claim.

In making the Norwich order, the Court imposed conditions to employ safeguards used in the U.K. and U.S. for the interests of the internet users. The Court provided language that must appear  in any demand letter Voltage sends to the ISP subscribers, and the demand letter will need to be provided to the Court for review before being sent. The proceeding will also be case managed.