In three months time, the Canadian music, movie and TV industries will unleash their combined legal might on a little known BitTorrent tracker. A true David and Goliath battle, the QuebecTorrent case is one that Michael Geist says is “worth watching”, and will have wide implications for all of ‘online’ Canada.
In October 2007, a small BitTorrent tracker called QuebecTorrent was pushed into the headlines, having been targeted by the Canadian music industry. It took threats from the CRIA to force Demonoid overseas, so QuebecTorrent might be forgiven for feeling just a little in the spotlight right now. Not only are they facing the CRIA, but also ADISQ and APFTQ (the TV and movie companies) – and CIRPA.
The legal background to the case is available in TorrentFreak’s previous interview with QuebecTorrent back in November 2007. Essentially, it’s felt that the decision in this case will impact the future of all Canadian BitTorrent trackers and have more serious implications, explained here by Micheal Geist:
This case is one worth watching – while the knee jerk reaction of some will be to call for the site’s immediate takedown, the legal principles that come from the case, including the liability for linking to unauthorized content and the responsibility of site owners for content posted by 3rd parties, could have significant implications for search engines, bloggers, and anyone else operating online.
TorrentFreak recently caught up with the admin, Doditz, and he told us: “First of all I had to change my lawyer because he got sick and can’t represent me anymore. The new lawyer is SÃ©bastien Leblond and his team at Fetch LÃ©gal LTÃ‰E.”
Doditz told us that the next big dates are the 9th, 10th and 11th July, where there will be a summary analysis of the case taking place in the Court of Justice in MontrÃ©al.
In an announcement to QuebecTorrent’s 85,000 members he said:
The eventual hearing will require adequate preparation, which will require active involvement of our lawyers in the next three months. Notably, this will require our defense, which will rest particularly on account of the jurisprudence involved with the subject, and the actual evaluation of the law.
Doditz says he will personally have to participate in this process and added that it’s possible that some of the site’s users could be asked to testify too.
Of course, with all this talk of legal action, talk of lots of expenses can’t be far away either. Indeed, the fear of increasing legal costs is often enough to make someone cave in to the demands of the media industry, and they know this all too well.
Nevertheless, QuebecTorrent is standing up and fighting. Doditz hopes that given the wider implications of a negative outcome in the case – such as those indicated by Michael Geist – this will enable him to raise the funds needed for an adequate defense and sensible outcome. He estimates they will need “approximately $15,000, plus applicable taxes, so about $5000 per month”.
A final message from Doditz: “Thank you in advance to all those who will allow QuebecTorrent to defend your rights and the exchange of international culture.”
Anyone wishing to help the cause, can do so by clicking here.