Friday, October 21, 2022

Voltage Mass Drift Net Default Judgment Test Case - The Appeal

I blogged last year about Voltage’s troubling test case effort to get a default judgment against dozens of alleged infringers all at once identified through aggressive investigation and Norwich orders.

Those dozens could, if Voltage’s procedural tactic succeeds, quickly become many thousands at several thousand dollars each. In this test case, Voltage was seeking staturory damages of $2,250 to $5,000 plus costs from each defendant caught in the drift net.

CIPPIC had intervened in this proceeding. Voltage was dealt a serious setback by the Federal Court in a well-reasoned order by Justice Furlanetto dated June 6, 2022. See Voltage Holdings, LLC v. Doe#1, 2022 FC 827 (CanLII),

Not surprisingly, Voltage has appealed. CIPPIC has been given leave to intervene in the appeal.  Here is Voltage’s Memorandum of Fact and Law for the appeal.

There’s a lot at stake here. If these mass default proceeding tactics are sanctioned by the Court, we will almost certainly see a parade of  thousands of default judgments in dozens or more cases involving up to $5,000 in statutory damages against each and every defendant – whether of not each defendant actively downloaded, simply had their Wi-Fi used by someone else (e.g. teenage kid, babysitter, neighbour, tenant, etc.) or were just misidentified.

This would be unacceptable and would require a legislative remedy.

Also, not to be forgotten, is the so-called “reverse” class action against Mr. Robert Salna, a landlord who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and is being forced to defend this very complex test case, which still grinds on in the Federal Court as action #T-662-16 - now with several intervenors.


PS - October 30, 2022: Here's is CIPPIC's very well researched intervener factum dated October 28, 2022 in Voltage's appeal.

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