Copyright cops threaten 86-year-old Canadian for allegedly pirating zombie game
An 86-year-old woman from Ontario, Canada has been accused of downloading a zombie game she has never heard of. The accused in question is Christine McMillan who received an email informing her that she was liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for illegally downloading Metro 2033. Yet, she didn’t even know what Metro 2033 was and did not understand why she faced a fine of thousands of dollars.
Metro 2033 was released in 2010 and is a first-person shooter game based in the ruins of Moscow following a nuclear war. Players must defeat an evil mutant race, which some gamers refer to as zombies.
Christine told Go Public – an investigative news team from Canada’s CBC TV network, “I found it quite shocking … I’m 86 years old, no one has access to my computer but me, why would I download a war game?”
Copyright holders such as game developers and film studios normally hire third-party firms to collect settlement money from the alleged pirates.
In this case, the private firm Canadian Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement (CANIPRE) sent the letter, which was forwarded to Christine by her internet provider, according to Go Public.
The firm that sent the letter said the incident was “an unfortunate anomaly”.
Christine is one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been accused of copyright infringement under Canadian federal government’s Notice and Notice regulations, which were introduced last year under the Copyright Modernization Act. According to which, ISPs are now required to forward copyright infringement notices to their customers.
Customers are identified only through their IP address. The service provider does not disclose any personal information to the copyright enforcers. The goal is to give copyright holders a quick and easy way to notify users of alleged copyright infringement taking place at their internet address. These notices warn the recipients that they have been identified as having downloaded content without paying for it and offer a one-off payment to avoid the case going to court.
In the beginning, Christine thought it was a scam. She said, “They didn’t tell me how much I owed, they only told me that if I didn’t comply, I would be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 and I could pay immediately by entering my credit card number.”
However, after calling her internet service provider Cogeco, she realised that the notices are perfectly legal.
Christine told Go Public: “It seems to be a very foolish piece of legislation.”
She further added, “That somebody can threaten you over the internet … that to me is intimidation and I can’t believe the government would support such action.” Christine intends to ignore the infringement notices and not pay the piracy ransom for Metro 2033.
According to a network security analyst, Christine used an unsecured wireless connection in her apartment and someone jumped on it and downloaded the game using her IP.