There has been some buzz recently surrounding the Montreal corporation Canipre, an organization which claims to perform “Canadian Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement.” In light of the methods Canipre is using to attempt to enforce intellectual property rights, we thought it was time to renew our hunt to see if we could find copyright infringement in other parts of our government. Last year, the Pirate Party of Canada found evidence of copyright infringement from inside the House of Commons. Our targets this time? Industry Canada and the RCMP. Our tool: Scaneye – a similar tool used by Canipre to locate what they believe to be individuals guilty of copyright infringement. To help us get the best information possible we teamed up with the guys at TorrentFreak to ensure we had credible verifiable information.
We used the IP ranges of Industry Canada:
Industry Canada (ASN: AS820 OrgID: INDUST-2)
220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168
22.214.171.124 – 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52 – 184.108.40.206
And the RCMP:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (orgID: RCMP-2-Z)
220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168
22.214.171.124 – 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52 – 184.108.40.206
220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168
Our investigation has revealed that quite a lot of unlicensed material has been downloaded from within both the RCMP and Industry Canada. Movies that appear to have been downloaded via the IP addresses of these government entities include The Fast and the Furious, Skyfall, The Smurfs, and The Hunger Games. Episodes of PBS shows such as Nova and Masterpiece Theatre, and less educational shows such as The Office and Two and a Half Men, have also been downloaded. The hit HBO series Game of Thrones, which was the #1 most pirated show in 2012, appears on the list of infringing material as well.
Fortunately for the RCMP, HBO has gone on the record saying they don’t really mind how rampant the piracy of their top show is. HBO’s programming chief, Michael Lombardo, said to NPR that his bigger concern wasn’t that people were downloading the show, but that by downloading they’d get an inferior product. One of the directors of Game of Thrones, David Petrarca, has also been quoted as saying, “No, it’s great. It really helps the show’s cultural buzz, and it does not impact the bottom line because HBO has more than enough money to keep making the show.”
There’s currently no reliable method of determining who is guilty of copyright infringement on an individual level, so copyright enforcement groups like Canipre tend to rely on the concept of identifying guilty IP addresses, and then targeting the people to whom those addresses belong. However, as we can see from the results of this investigation, multiple people can share IP addresses; this means that this method of enforcement is highly unreliable at determining who is responsible for copyright infringement at the individual level. While Scaneye does not appear to disclose their data collection methods; a 2008 study at the University of Washington: “Challenges and Directions for Monitoring P2P File Sharing Networks” found that similar data collection is vulnerable to manipulation. Such manipulation included the ability to generate false positives if the monitoring agents don’t actually sample the file being uploaded.
It is difficult to find statistics on exactly how much copyright infringement is going on, and how much revenue is lost because of it. This find demonstrates these issues; copyright infrigement is so easy and so commonplace that even people inside groups focused on stopping it can be caught doing it. Furthermore, every time corporations and government bodies are found to be guilty of copyright infringement, these incidents are explained away or ignored – yet the average citizen doesn’t get off so easy, and the services that allegedly enable them have faced harsh crackdowns as well. Copyright trolls target and extort thousands of dollars from largely defenseless – and often innocent – people and organizations.
Between the difficultly of targeting individual pirates, the double standard of targeting individuals more harshly than organizations, and the fact that many content creators don’t see piracy as detrimental to their business, it’s clear that something is wrong with the way intellectual property rights are current enforced. If the goal of copyright enforcers – and the creators they represent – is to increase profits and protect creator rights, shouldn’t there be a better way to accomplish this than by harassing individuals who may or may not bear any responsibility for copyright infringement happening on their IP address?
Our Press Release:
TORONTO – The Pirate Party of Canada has uncovered evidence that Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Industry Canada computers may have been used to download copyrighted material. Using the same methods as those used by “copyright enforcement” organization Canipre, the Pirate Party has uncovered that a variety of films, TV shows, and video games were downloaded via the networks of the RCMP and Industry Canada. Last year the Pirate Party found similar copyright infringement happening in the House of Commons: .
“This discovery shows that copyrighted materials have, in fact, been downloaded via the RCMP and Industry Canada networks,” states Pirate Party leader Travis McCrea. “However, we cannot be sure who is responsible for downloading the material, or even if it was downloaded by employees, contractors, or a person who was using an open wireless connection. This is why this type of intellectual property enforcement doesn’t work – there is no method of reliably telling who actually engaged in the infringement of copyrighted materials.”
The movies that appear to have been downloaded by RCMP IP addresses include The Fast and the Furious, Skyfall, The Smurfs, and The Hunger Games. Episodes of PBS shows such as Nova and Masterpiece Theatre, and less educational shows such as The Office and Two and a Half Men, have also been downloaded. The hit HBO series Game of Thrones, which was the #1 most pirated show in 2012, appears on the list of infringing material as well. Fortunately for the RCMP, HBO doesn’t seem to mind.
Only the first page of download data was collected for each organization, so there may have been even more infringing content downloaded by the RCMP and Industry Canada. It is interesting to note, however, that there were no pornographic torrents found on the list.
For more detailed information, please refer to our blog post on the Pirate Party of Canada website.
The Pirate Party is a forward-thinking, federally registered party which focuses on civil liberties, intellectual property reform and evidence based policy making. Media requests can be sent to Travis.McCrea@pirateparty.ca or you can call (877) 978-2023 or (778) 800-2744 and dial option 2 for press.