On the 1st of January 2015 Canada introduced a new law named the Copyright Modernization Act. The purpose of the act is to require providers of telecommunications services to forward on copyright notices to those suspected of infringing on copyright.
Providers of telecommunications services generally means ISPs, although recent discussion over the internet has lead users to question if Anonymous VPN services fall under the same category. While a VPN provider does supply a means of communications there are many facilitators within that chain with the initial being the ISP.
Debate has been opened if anonymous VPN providers located within Canada will be required to forward on notices to users, although the ability to do that would be extremely hampered due to the fact that the idea of a VPN service is to offer anonymity to its users and in many cases users will be accessing via the same IP address as others. If such a requirement turns out to be necessary it will alter the landscape for Canadian based VPN providers forever.
While VPN providers located and operating within Canadian borders are considering their future, other providers such as LiquidVPN based in the US have no such requirements and are able to offer Canadian customers a totally secure, anonymous VPN service that falls outside the remit of the new Canadian act.
As part of the act Canadian users will begin receiving notices when allegedly downloading copyrighted material via torrents, not only will the notice be forwarded to them but a record kept of this for 6 months. This time period allows for the movie industry and record studios to take legal action if required. Using a VPN service is usually seen as a way to anonymise your download habits, regardless of the type of content that you download, legal or otherwise.
LiquidVPN are one of a few anonymous VPN providers that publicly publish all notices received in regards to law enforcement requests and copyright infringement notices. The types of notices published by LiquidVPN show that many users enlist the use of their service to download with anonymity with the protection of their browsing habits at the forefront of their mind. Without even considering the legality of what users download, the act of being able to download in private, without it being able to be attributed to yourself should be an automatic right that the LiquidVPN service fulfils.
Although the wording of the new act is up for discussion with groups on either side of the fence regarding how it would be interpreted from a VPN service perspective, VPN providers such as LiquidVPN have seen a sharp increase in signups from Canadian customers who wish to avoid having their download habits monitored.
Statistics from search engine Google also show a huge increase in the number of Canadian users searching for terms related to “VPN”, so while the new act may cause certain users to find themselves in receipt of a copyright infringement notice, the word of anonymous VPN services is spreading and the uses becoming wide and varied on a country by country basis.
It remains unclear whether VPN companies will fall within the spectrum of the act but as has been seen worldwide in recent years, any avenue in which the entertainment industry can pursue and curtail use will be exploited. It appears that a lengthy court battle between Canadian based VPN providers and the entertainment industry will be the only way to resolve a concrete answer, while this is unlikely to happen in the near future it leaves Canadians in a precarious position with uncertainly surrounding the safety of downloading via a Canadian VPN service.
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