The Company Helping Movie Studios Sue You for Illegal Downloading Has Been Using Images Without Permission
As you may already know, Voltage Pictures, the company responsible for the movie The Hurt Locker, (as well as a million movies you’ve never heard of) is currently in court, attempting to get an Ontario-based internet service provider to release the names associated with over 1000 IP addresses that they claim belong to people who illegally downloaded their copyrighted material.
These IP addresses were gathered by an extraordinarily douchey company called Canipre, the only antipiracy enforcement firm currently offering services in Canada.
Canipre, as a company, offers to track down people who are illegally downloading copyrighted material from record companies and film studios. According to their website, they have issued more than 3,500,000 takedown notices, and their work has led to multimillion dollar damages awards, injunctions, seizure of assets, and even incarceration.
But it’s not like Canipre is doing this just to get rich. In a recent interview, Canipre’s managing director Barry Logan explained that it’s about much more than just money—he’s hoping to teach the Canadian public a moral lesson:
”[We want to] change social attitudes toward downloading. Many people know it is illegal but they continue to do it… Our collective goal is not to sue everybody… but to change the sense of entitlement that people have, regarding Internet-based theft of property.”
Here is a screenshot of the front page of the Canipre website as it appeared when I visited it this morning.
The image you see in the background is this self portrait, by Steve Houk.
I contacted Steve and asked if they had sought permission to use the picture. Steve said, “No. In no way have I authorized or licensed this image to anyone in any way.”
So, just to be clear: Canipre has written “they all know it’s wrong and they’re still doing it.” Referring to copyright theft. On top of an image that they are using without the permission of the copyright holder. On their official website.
Are Canadians About to Be Prosecuted for File Sharing?
As of late, a company named Canipre has been drumming up a lot of shadily defined fear mongering against“one million Canadians” who they insist are illegally downloading copyrighted material. If you have never heard of Canipre, they’re a new company that’s looking for record label and film studio clients they can work with to suck the cash out of Canadian citizens. Canipre has teamed up with two god-awful movie studios to begin their noble journey. The first is Voltage Pictures, who has released a ton of movies that are barely bargain bin worthy, plus a film you may know called The Hurt Locker. Canipre’s other companion in this shakedown mission is NGN Productions, who has released such gems as Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story, a made-for-TV program, and Recoil, an action movie with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Not only is it bullshit that Stone Cold Steve Austin has been dragged into this mess, the tactics behind Canipre’s lawsuits seem to be bullshit as well. On Canipre’s website, they proudly advertise to potential clients that “when asked, 95%” of accused file-sharers “stop” downloading entirely. Evidently, they like to brag about their bullying tactics. Their front page also has a randomly generating slogan that spouts out wisdom like, “it’s an arms race, and your bottom line is the target,” “your audience isn’t rational,” and “if they keep thinking it’s free, when do you go out of business?”
A screenshot from Canipre’s friendly website.
As for Canada’s copyright laws, a close reading of the penalties detailed in our new amendment to the copyright act, C-11, leads to some uncertainties. For example, if you are found guilty of “circumventing” a “technological protection measure” you can be fined up to $25,000 or sentenced to a maximum of sixth months in jail. Would that include breaking the iTunes DRM off an album that someone purchased, then sending that newly “unprotected” digital copy to a friend?
Once again, a major BitTorrent portal has disappeared from the internet into a poof of misdirection and contradictory reporting. Currently, The Pirate Bay is unreachable and, like we have seen before, TorrentFreak is the only media outlet with allegedly official information. They’re saying that Pirate Bay isdown “due to power failure.”
In August, I reported on the Demonoid shutdown. Torrentfreak ran a story that said Demonoid’s servers, which were hosted by a company named Colocall, were shut down by the Ukranians as a “gift to the United States government.” They wrote that the Ukrainian “government investigators arrived at ColoCall to shut Demonoid down” which they sourced from a Ukrainian newspaper. A few days later, after I emailed Colocall personally, Colocall told me “the decision to terminate the contract with Demonoid has been made without participation of the Ministry, because they caused too much trouble for a single customer. This is our own decision.”
Even though we ran an article that said Torrentfreak was “full of shit,” I’m not saying that they’re totally wrong in reporting The Great Pirate Bay Power Failure of 2012. I am, however, very skeptical. Especially given that on their front page they are also running a story about Gottfrid Svartholm, a TPB founder, being"locked up without charges." Gottfrid, pictured above on the left, was arrested in Cambodia and returned to Sweden last month after dodging a warrant. Besides evading his one year sentence in Sweden for running Pirate Bay, he allegedly hacked into a consulting firm called Logica. He’s currently sitting in a Swedish jail and his detention period was extended yesterday, the same day as the power failure.
Besides the supposed power failure, and Gottfrid being extracted from Cambodia, there’s a third event that is also supposedly unconnected to the site being down. It regards the TPB’s hosting company: PRQ. PRQ not only hosts Pirate Bay, the company was also founded by the creators of TPB. PRQ has also caught some serious heat for hosting NAMBLA’s website. But, more importantly, PRQ is one of Wikileaks’ hosting providers as well. As of right now, the Wikileaks website is still accessible.