Business and commercial law: Web piracy causes a sea of problems

The 21st century has taken society to new technological heights. Many things are done online today. Documents are signed and posted, pieces of writing are posted and newspaper articles can be accessed. It stands to reason, then, that some of this intellectual property in Canada and the world over suffers at the hands of online pirates. Any copyrighted material that is downloaded or used without consent is considered, under business and commercial law, to be pirated. 

The things that are most commonly pirated online are music, movies and computer software. A copyright act already in effect in Canada was updated in 2012 to encompass online infringements. The Copyright Modernization Act, as it's known, makes it incumbent upon internet service providers and sites hosting web pages to warn those who have illegally downloaded copyrighted material with letters from those holding the copyrights. The letter lets the person doing the downloading know they might be sued for doing so.

The punishments for being convicted for online piracy range from a minimum fine of $100 to a maximum of $5,000 if the download was for personal use only. If the illegally downloaded material was used commercially, the fines could go as high as $20,000. One thing to note, however, is that a website host need only provide personal information about a customer if a copyright holder initiates a lawsuit and has obtained a court order mandating the service provider to do so. 

Those who find their copyrighted work available on the internet has been used unlawfully should consult an Ontario lawyer experienced in business and commercial law. He or she would be able to steer a client in the right direction when it comes pursuing claims for compensation. Such a lawyer would be familiar with the legalities surrounding this type of copyright piracy.

Source:, "What is online piracy?", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Dec. 23, 2017

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