Torrenting in Canada

For a good while now, Canadians have leaned heavily on torrenting as their go-to for accessing media. Interestingly, back in 2004, Canada was the world leader in the percentage of torrent users relative to its population.

Though the initial interest in torrenting has seen a bit of a dip, plenty of users in Canada are still using torrents to download all kinds of digital content. But it’s not all smooth sailing; with legislation introduced in recent years, the risks associated with file-sharing have notably increased. It’s more important than ever for users to navigate this space with caution.

Canada’s Stance on Torrenting

Canada has laws addressing torrenting, aiming to curb online piracy. Despite these efforts, copyright organizations still view the country as a haven for torrent activities.

The Canadian Copyright Modernization Act is the legislation copyright holders use to sue users successfully. When the government passed this act, online piracy was not a threat. Later amendments added digital content as intellectual property covered by copyright laws.

Format shifting

The act includes a section on format shifting. Format shifting refers to the process of disrupting the digital locks on DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Ray discs to create digital versions of the content. Almost any movie, TV show, or game shared on torrent sites involves format shifting.

While the courts have not penalized anyone for violating this portion of the act, format shifting may provide prosecutors with the leverage they need to try more cases.

The notifying system

The Copyright Modernization Act also requires ISPs to notify users if they detect any illegal activity. This is called the “notice and notice” system and is the reason why you may receive a letter from your ISP after downloading pirated content.

Torrent activity logged by ISPs

Major copyright organizations still criticize Canada

International copyright organizations, such as the MPAA and RIAA, have voiced concerns over Canada’s methods of handling copyright infringement. They specifically point to the “notice and notice” system, suggesting it’s more forgiving than they’d prefer.

This perception challenges the effectiveness of measures like the Copyright Modernization Act in deterring piracy activities.

Risks Involved in Torrenting in Canada

Torrent activities in Canada carry some legal and privacy risks and, in some cases, users face fines. In Canada, the law caps fines at $5000 for non-commercial copyright breaches. And since these are civil, not criminal offenses, jail isn’t a concern.

Legal Actions and Copyright Trolling

One of the best examples we can discuss here is how a Toronto law firm took legal action in 2017, on behalf of major film studios. They filed a lawsuit against about 3,400 Canadians.

They were accused of sharing a Hollywood movie online. The settlement amounts ranged from $100 to $5000, showing that the penalties depend heavily on the details of each incident. This case signals a shift in Canada’s approach. It indicates a growing commitment to tackling copyright infringement in recent years.

Copyright Trolling

Additionally, some entities misuse the “notice and notice” regime to demand settlement fees, known as “copyright trolling.” They target uninformed consumers with inappropriate settlement demands, a practice not supported by Canadian law​.

Avoid trolling by understanding the notice system

The “notice and notice” regime is designed to raise awareness about copyright infringement without imposing an obligation to pay any settlement fees mentioned in these notices. This approach is intended to discourage online infringement​​​​. However, it does not mean the recipient must pay a fine.

Considerations for Safe Torrenting in Canada

To torrent safely in Canada, you should have some factors in mind, such as paying attention to copyrighted materials and carefully choosing your torrent sources.

But even users who only download legal torrents sometimes get notices. That’s why we recommend using a Virtual Private Network.

When you torrent, a VPN acts like a shield for your internet use. It encrypts your data and hides your IP address and where you’re downloading from. This keeps your online moves private and safe.

The best VPNs for Canada

We tested many VPN services and picked the most suitable ones for BitTorrent in Canada. All of these provide anonymity when sharing files via P2P. The following are our VPN recommendations that allow BitTorrent traffic in Canada:

NordVPN

NordVPN

  • P2P dedicated servers
  • Many fast servers in North America
  • All the features needed to torrent safely
Surfshark

Surfshark

  • Nearby torrent dedicated servers
  • A good set of features, some of them rare
  • One of the best prices in the VPN market

Torrenting in Canada has seen significant evolution. It transitioned from a widely used method for accessing digital content to a more regulated activity. As laws evolve to combat copyright issues, being mindful of your downloads and shares becomes essential.

So, if you’re in Canada, make sure you stay smart about it. Know the rules, be mindful of what you download, and protect your privacy. That way, you can keep enjoying all that content without worry.