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TekSavvy disappointed by narrow Federal Court copyright decision - Potential chilling effect on intermediary involvement in protecting privacy

March 19, 2015. Chatham, Ontario & Gatineau, Québec.

TekSavvy Solutions Inc., one of Canada’s leading independent telecommunications providers, has expressed disappointment in the Federal Court’s decision this week that TekSavvy could recover only $21,500 -- less than six percent -- of the costs incurred as a result of U.S. copyright owner Voltage Pictures LLC’s lawsuit against more than 2000 “John and Jane Does” in Canada.

The case began after Voltage made Canadian court filings in 2011 and 2012. The filings demanded that the courts order telcos, including Bell Canada, Cogeco Cable, Videotron and, later, TekSavvy, to provide personal information related to accounts Voltage alleged had been used for illegal downloading.

Voltage’s request for personal information related to TekSavvy’s customers’ accounts was one of the largest such claims in Canadian history. In response, TekSavvy took significant steps to protect its users’ privacy rights. These steps included providing notice to customers and ongoing user support, and ensuring that affected account-holders had an opportunity to be represented in court.

This week’s decision excluded the costs of all of those steps and other related costs by narrowly reading a 2014 ruling that recognized the important privacy interests at play in this case, and which created a framework to discourage “copyright trolling” in Canada.

“For consumers concerned about privacy, this narrow reading sends the wrong signal,” commented TekSavvy CEO Marc Gaudrault. “It tells copyright claimants that protecting the end-users’ privacy is someone else’s problem--not something whose costs they need worry about.”

TekSavvy will continue to defend its customers’ privacy rights, and will advise customers--who were first notified of their involvement in 2012--of the next steps in this ruling. Those customers’ information will not be provided to Voltage unless and until: all conditions of the 2014 and, now, 2015 court orders are met; and those customers have been informed.

About TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Founded in 1998, TekSavvy Solutions Inc. provides residential, commercial, and wholesale telecommunications services to more than 250,000 Canadian homes, and has a special commitment to protecting Canadian consumers’ rights online. TekSavvy is based in Chatham, ON & Gatineau, QC.

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