Grandmother accused of pirating zombie game

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By BBC/Shellmith

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Canadian grandmother Christine McMillan does not include killing zombies among her hobbies, neither does she play the games that would allow her to do so.

So when she received a letter accusing her of illegally downloading first-person shooter Metro 2033, she was surprised.

She had never heard of the game and did not understand why she faced a fine of thousands of dollars.

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The firm that sent the letter said the incident was “an unfortunate anomaly”.

It is now mandatory for Canadian ISPs to forward the physical addresses of people whose IP address has been identified by content owners as being the source of illegal downloads.

It is part of the Canadian government’s Notice and Notice regulations, introduced under last year’s Copyright Modernization Act.

The regulation requires that infringement notices issued by content owners are forwarded to users.

“I found it quite shocking. I’m 86, no-one has access to my computer but me, why would I download a war game?” Mrs. McMillan told Go Public – an investigative news team from Canada’s CBC TV network.

Metro 2033 was released in 2010 and is based in the ruins of Moscow, following a nuclear war. Players must defeat an evil mutant race.

At first, she thought it was a scam but after calling her internet service provider Cogeco, she realised that the notices are perfectly legal.

Mrs. McMillan told Go Public: “It seems to be a very foolish piece of legislation.”

Thousands of Canadians are likely to have received similar notices, which warn them 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.

Copyright holders such as game developers and film studios are typically hiring third-party firms to collect money from the alleged pirates.

In this case, the private firm Canadian Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement (CANIPRE) sent the letter.

It read: “In the event that this matter remains unresolved and/or you continue to engage in the unauthorised copying and distribution of copyrighted works, you could be in violation of the Acceptable Use policy you may be party to with your ISP.”

In response to a BBC enquiry, the firm said that what it described as the “McMillan notice” was “simply one of multiple of thousands of notices that we handle monthly”.

It accused ISP Cogeco of being “unreliable” in the way it “reconciles the IP… to the appropriate subscriber”.

It went on to offer a one-off payment of 5,000 Canadian dollars ($3,700, £3,000) to settle the case. Mrs McMillan said she has no intention of paying.

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