#CyberFLASH: Court Ruling In TekSavvy Piracy Case A ‘Bad Message For Privacy’

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A court ruling in a long-running Canadian piracy case could convince internet providers not to fight for their subscribers’ privacy, a noted digital privacy expert says.

The Federal Court of Canada has ordered Hollywood film company Voltage Pictures to pay Ontario-based internet provider TekSavvy $22,000 to cover costs in Voltage’s pursuit of TekSavvy subscribers alleged to have pirated Voltage movies, the Financial Post reports.

And while that may seem like a win for pirates and a loss for copyright holders, a prominent digital law expert says it’s actually a loss for Canadians’ privacy.

Voltage Pictures, which is behind such films as “The Hurt Locker” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” won a lawsuit last year against TekSavvy, an independent internet provider based in Chatham, Ont.

TekSavvy was ordered to identify some 2,200 subscribers that Voltage alleged had pirated its films in a two-month period in 2012.

In a subsequent ruling Tuesday, the Federal Court ordered Voltage to pay TekSavvy about $22,000, or some $11 per identified subscriber, to cover the ISP’s costs in the matter.

But digital law expert Michael Geist points out that TekSavvy had asked for more than $346,000 to cover legal and technical costs. (Voltage had countered by offering $884.)

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