With the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act in 2012, a Notice and Notice regime was introduced into Canadian law. This regime entered into force on January 2, 2015, and as an Internet intermediary, the University of Alberta is subject to compliance with this new provision.
The information on this page is provided to inform users on campus of their rights and obligations under this new regime. This includes users who connect to the Internet using a university provided connection as well as those who upload content to a personal web space hosted by the University.
Overview of the Regime
Under this legislated regime, a copyright owner who believes a user might be infringing their copyright online can send a notice of the alleged infringement to the user's Internet intermediary, such as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), host, or search engine. Upon receiving a proper notice, or as soon as is feasible, the ISP, host or search engine is legally required to take action by forwarding the notice to the associated user. Once this task has been completed, the ISP or host must inform the sender that the obligation has been met or if forwarding was not possible, provide a reason why. They must also store records of the incident for six months or a year if the copyright owner commences legal proceedings.
The goal of the Notice and Notice regime is to discourage people from engaging in infringing activities online, such as unauthorized downloading and uploading of copyright material as well as illegal file sharing. This system is meant to help copyright owners address online copyright infringement and strengthen their ability to control the use of their works online.
Criteria for a Valid Notice
The Copyright Act lists the specific information that must be included in a notice for it to comply with the Notice and Notice regime. The form and content of a notice of claimed infringement shall:
- be made in writing
- state the claimant's (copyright owner's) name and address
- identify the copyright work to which the alleged infringement relates
- state the claimant's interest or right with respect to the copyright in the work
- specify the data for the electronic location to which the claim relates (e.g. web address, URL)
- specify the type of infringement that is alleged
- specify the date and time of the alleged infringing activity
U of A - Compliance and Obligations
Upon receipt of a notice of potential infringement by a user of Internet services on campus, the university's IST Computer Security team will assess whether the requisite information is contained in the notice. Once the validity of the notice is verified, IST Computer Security will identify the associated user and forward them the notice of alleged infringement. After the notice has been forwarded, the university will inform the sender the obligation has been met.
As required under the law, the institution will retain records of the associated user's allegedly infringing activity for a period of six months following the incident. Where the claimant commences legal action and informs the university it has done so, the institution will keep the records for at least one year. These records will be destroyed once the required retention period has elapsed.
The identity and contact information of the associated user will remain private and records of the allegedly infringing activity will remain confidential. The university will not disclose any information to copyright owners unless ordered to do so by a court as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why was the Copyright Act amended to include this provision?
An objective of the Notice and Notice regime is to discourage online infringement on the part of Internet users and to raise awareness of instances where Internet users' accounts are being used for such purposes. This regime provides copyright owners with a tool to control and enforce their copyright, while also respecting the rights and freedoms of Internet users.
2. Does the University forward all notices received?
As long as the notice contains the criteria for a valid notice it will be forwarded to the associated user. The institution does not vet the validity of notices on any criteria except those set out in the Copyright Act. Accordingly, notices may contain additional information or requests for action that are not supported by or required under Canadian law. Recipients are encouraged to read through notices carefully to identify required criteria from information or requests that are not valid in Canada.
3. Why did I receive this notice?
If you receive a notice of alleged infringement, it is because a copyright owner has identified your Internet address as being involved in an activity that allegedly infringes their copyright. Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean you have infringed or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.
The information provided by the copyright owner should help you understand the details of the alleged infringement.
4. Do I need to contact the copyright owner?
The regime does not impose any obligations on a person who receives a notice, nor does it require the person to contact the owner or the Internet intermediary. There is no obligation on your part to respond to the notice.
5. I was not using the Internet at the time the alleged infringement took place, now what?
You received a notice because a copyright owner believes that you or someone using your IP address has engaged in illegal downloading or illegal sharing of a copyright-protected work, such as a song or movie. This may or may not have been you personally as it is possible the notice pertains to acts undertaken by someone using your Internet connection without your knowledge. You may want to change your CCID password as a precaution.
6. What University policies should I refer to regarding use of Internet services on campus?
Campus members uploading content to their personal web space provided by the institution must comply with all University policies and procedures. Refer to the Information Technology Use and Management Policy
and associated procedures
, as well as the Use of Copyright Materials Policy
7. Will the University share my identity and contact information with the copyright owner?
The University will not share your personal information with anyone unless ordered to do so by the court. If the copyright owner decides to pursue legal action with and a court order is sent to the University, your identity and contact information will be released to the copyright owner as part of the copyright infringement lawsuit.
8. What is the penalty for online infringement?
In Canada, the statutory damages for non-commercial infringement does not exceed $5,000. Note that fines and penalties from different jurisdictions do not apply in Canada.
9. The notice contains an offer to settle out of court, am I obligated to pay?
Receiving a notice for alleged infringement is separate from any lawsuit for copyright infringement. Until the allegation has been proven, your are not legally obligated to pay a settlement or licence fee should one be offered by the copyright owner or their agent.
10. How is an allegation of copyright infringement proven?
A copyright owner who believes your use of their content infringes their copyright will need to take legal action to prove their claim. The authority for deciding the validity of the infringement claim resides with the Courts.
11. If I have not received a notice, does that mean no legal action will be taken?
There is no legal requirement for copyright owners to send a notice prior to commencing proceedings. Legal action alleging copyright infringement may be launched regardless of whether the copyright owner has sent a notice under the regime.
12. Who do I contact for information on Internet services provided by the university?
Contact the University of Alberta's Information Services and Technology Office.
13. Where can I go for more information on the legality of file sharing in Canada?
If you would like to learn more above the legality of file-sharing in Canada, please refer to the File-Sharing FAQ
produced by the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
14. Where can I go for more information on the Notice and Notice Regime?
• Backgrounder, Notice and Notice Regime
- Government of Canada
• News Release, Balanced, Modern Copyright for Canadian Creators and Consumers
- Government of Canada
• Notice and Notice Regime
- Government of Canada, Industry Canada
• Copyright Act, section 41.25
Sending a Notice to the University of Alberta
Copyright notices may be sent to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address is received by the Computer Security Administrator at IST Computer Security.
A notice received by any other part of the institution should be forwarded to email@example.com for follow-up by IST Computer Security.
Last update: April 21, 2015