FAQs on McGill's Copyright Infringement Notification System

Copyright graphicWhat is McGill's Copyright Infringement Notification System (CINS)?

It is an automated system that handles the University's legal obligations, regarding copyright infringement claims that involve illegal downloading and sharing of copyright-protected files, such as movies and music, using the McGill network.

What are McGill's obligations?

Because McGill provides Internet access through our wired and wireless networks, we must abide by legislation pertaining to Internet Service Providers, such as the Notice and Notice regime of Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act (Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42), which requires all Internet Service Providers to:

  1. Forward any infringement notices, received from copyright holders, to the individual associated with the IP address indicated in the infringement notice. The University is required to perform due diligence in attempting to identify this individual. Note, however, that under certain circumstances it will not be possible to ascertain the individual’s identity.
  2. Notify the copyright holder – person or agency who sent the notice – once the notice is forwarded; or inform them that the notice could not be forwarded, in the case that no individual could be associated with the IP address specified in the infringement notice.
  3. Retain all records associated with these notices for 6 months; if the claimant starts legal proceedings relating to the claimed infringement and notifies the person of this intent before the end of those six months, McGill must keep the notices for one year after the day on which the person receives the notice of claimed infringement.

Does the system deal with plagiarism and other copyright violations apart from digital media?

No. For information on copyright in general, and best practices at McGill, please see https://www.mcgill.ca/copyright

FAQs for the copyright holder

How do I submit a digital copyright infringement claim to McGill University?

Step 1 - Send your claim by email to copyright-infringement.acns [at] mcgill.ca
Ensure your claim meets the following requirements:

  • The claim must be encoded with either of the following computer-readable XML-encoding standards for copyright infringement notices:
    • ACNS 2.0 Notice and Message Specification, using  any of the latest versions of the XML schema (v1.0, v1.1, v1.2, v1.3)
    • CANACNS specification (Canadian version of the specification)
  • A valid Canadian Notice needs to be included in the body of the email (attachments will not be processed). Must include the following words:
    • Canada's Copyright Act
    • 41.25
    • C-42
  • Signed with a valid PGP signature. 
    (For information on obtaining free, open source software to digitally sign your infringement claim see the GNU Privacy Guard website at https://www.gnupg.org)
  • The XML content must be complete and contain valid data
  • The FROM field of your email must include a valid email address.

Step 2 - Enter your McGill Claim ID and submit for processing
The CINS will validate the format of your submitted claim and will send a reply message back to you. If your claim meets the requirements you will be given a McGill Claim ID number, which you will need to enter into the CINS system to continue processing. Detailed instructions will be provided in the email.

How will I know that my digital copyright infringement claim has been addressed?

McGill University will email you a confirmation of the receipt of your request, and any pertinent details about its status.  McGill will also send status update notifications to the copyright holder if the status changes, or in response to a status query.

FAQs for the McGill community

Who may receive a notice from McGill’s Copyright Infringement Notification System?

Anyone who uses the McGill network – students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees – are responsible to act in accordance with the Canadian Copyright Act and with McGill’s Policy on the Responsible Use of McGill Information Technology Resources. If you use or are identified as having used the McGill network to illegally download copyright-protected material, you may receive an infringement notification.

What will the copyright infringement notice look like?

Please refer to the following link to view the standard email header and text for infringement notices: Sample Copyright Infringement Notification

What should I do if I receive a copyright infringement notice?

Please note there is nothing in the notice that proves the claim is justified. A judicial process would need to take place to justify the claim.  

You are not required to respond to an infringement notice, and you are advised not to click on any links within the notice without first consulting a lawyer. If you know the claim to be true, you should delete the copyright files and refrain from illegal acts in the future. No other action is required, unless a procedure is started by the claimant.  In the event that a procedure is started by the claimant, you are advised to consult a lawyer.

Does McGill monitor and take action on copyright infringement?

The system produces reports of copyright infringement activity, and McGill has put in place a documented process to escalate repeated allegations of copyright infringement to the dean or director of the individual’s unit, depending on the situation.


Additional Resources:

For questions about other types of copyright infringement and use of copyright-protected material to support teaching, learning, and research at the university, see Copyright at McGill:

For more information about the Notice and Notice regime of Canada's Copyright Act, go to:
Notice and Notice Regime on the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada website.

Review the Policy on the Responsible Use of McGill Information Technology Resources.

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