US Jurisdiction over Canadian Sites

Does a US judge have jurisdiction over a website operated in Canada?  The answer is found in a recent US court decision involving a Canadian website operator  (Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. v. Fung ). 

In that case, the Motion Pictures Association of America sued Gary Fung, operator of IsoHunt (a popular BitTorrent site). Mr. Fung’s web sites were all hosted in Canada but the US court had no trouble establishing it could extend its ruling to cover Mr. Fung and his activities. The MPAA convinced the court that infringement had taken place within the US.  From there, it wasn’t a leap to tag Mr. Fung with liability under the US theories of “inducement, material contribution, and vicarious infringement”, even though Mr. Fung’s conduct occurred outside the US.

The court said that “United States copyright law does not require that both parties be located in the United States. … Plaintiffs need only show that United States users either uploaded or downloaded copyrighted works; Plaintiffs need not show that a particular file was both uploaded and downloaded entirely within the United States.”

Last year, Mr. Fung, through his company isoHunt Web Technologies Inc., attempted to launch a pre-emptive strike against the recording industry by seeking a declaration that its operations did not violate the Copyright Act.  No final ruling has been issued in that case.

Related Reading: Canadian P2P Copyright Battle Continues


Calgary – 09:00 MST


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