#CyberFLASH: How new online copyright infringement laws are affecting Canadians one year later

201310281614240l4j1t1yodou1gmqihww4xc3fAt TekSavvy Solutions Inc.’s office in the small southwestern Ontario town of Chatham, there’s a woman who comes to work each morning to help movie studios accuse the company’s customers of breaking the law. Every day, the employee has to process about 5,000 copyright infringement notices forwarded to TekSavvy by studios and other copyright holders that monitor the Internet for piracy.

She runs them through a software system, which the Internet service provider had to custom build, to ensure the text of the notice complies with the law and matches the IP address with the right customer. The software system only automates some of this task, so she still has to review each notice.

The whole process has become an expensive headache for a small company with 250,000 customers and about 500 employees, said Bram Abramson, TekSavvy’s chief legal and regulatory officer. The software system alone cost about $500,000 to set up, and the company has spent an additional $100,000 over the course of the past year to keep up with the notices.

“It’s a source of much frustration for us,” Abramson said. “It’s a whole system that had to be built. It’s not like you can buy that off the shelf.”

Accusing your customers of theft is also not great for business.

But under a law popularly known as notice-and-notice that went into effect in January 2015, ISPs such as TekSavvy are required to forward copyright infringement alerts to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material like movies, television shows and music.

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