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Canada's new copyright laws lack teeth: legal analyst

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Ottawa’s “Copyright Modernization Act” is now in effect, requiring Internet service providers to warn you if you’re caught illegally downloading music, movies, or TV shows.

But what impact will the legislation may have in the fight against online piracy?

News1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray says a warning letter may act as something of a deterrent, at least at first.

“I think the initial reaction to that will be, ‘Uh oh, I’d better be careful of what I do online,'” he admits. “But it’s not going to have any teeth in terms of actual impact on someone other than the fact that it is a letter saying you have been noted for doing this illegal activity.”

Shapray says while the penalties are stiff, the legislation leaves some questions unanswered.

“The penalties are $5,000 if it’s personal use and up to $10,000 if it’s commercial use for the downloading,” he explains.

“Whether or not people will take legal action with the cost of litigation is another question that’s unanswered at this point.”

The law doesn’t stop offenders from downloading illegal material or make them remove it from any websites where it may be posted.