Despite the fact that it didn’t work out in this case, it appears that reverse class action lawsuits may be possible in copyright infringement situations.
In Voltage Pictures, LLC Canada v Salna, 2019 FC 1412, the Federal Court (“FC”) dismissed a motion for certification brought by Voltage Pictures, LLC and six other film production companies (collectively, “Voltage”).
Voltage brought the motion to certify the proceeding as a class action after identifying what it believed to be three possible infringers. Voltage’s classification of infringers included an “Authorizing Infringer,” which is a person, such as an internet subscriber, who has not taken reasonable steps to prevent infringement from occurring on an internet account controlled by them, or who has authorized an unlawful copy of a film.
The FC found that Voltage’s proposed reverse class proceeding should not be certified as it had failed to fulfill all of the requirements in Rule 334.16 of the Federal Courts Rules. Voltage had not met the low threshold requirement that the pleadings disclose a reasonable cause of action with respect to Authorizing Infringers who are internet subscribers, under the Copyright Act. Further, Voltage had failed to the meet the requirement that there be an identifiable class of two or more people, as two of the identified respondents were not internet subscribers at the relevant time.
By Scott Miller and Osman Ismaili
This article is general information only and is not to be taken as legal or professional advice. This article does not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and MBM Intellectual Property Law LLP. If you would like more information about intellectual property, please feel free to reach out to MBM for a free consultation.
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