The entertainment and software industries have found an effective tool to deter some Canadians from downloading TV programs, movies, music and software. And it doesn't involve going to court. A number of industry groups, mostly based in the United States, are relying on e-mail to get the message out that peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal. Thousands of the e-mails are being sent to Canadian users each month under a program known as "notice and notice." Major Canadian internet service providers including Rogers, Bell and Telus have voluntarily agreed to distribute the notices to their customers on behalf of the industry associations. Telus forwards an average of 4,000 notices every month.
Stephen Harrington received a notice late last year after downloading a computer game from a bit torrent file-sharing site. (Bit torrent sites are used to share larger files, such as movies.) Harrington wanted to play the game with his friends, liked it, and purchased it a few days later.