Recent changes to Canada’s copyright laws now make it possible for content producers to go after individuals who are found to be illegally distributing or downloading their content -- and they’re now using companies that track Internet piracy in Canada to help them.

A judge recently ruled in favour of NGN Prima Production, a production company based in Burnaby, B.C., when it ordered internet companies to reveal the names and addresses of 50 people who allegedly illegally downloaded a copy of their film “Recoil.”

And a Montreal-based company that tracks illegal downloads on behalf of several movie and music companies says it has identified one million Canadians that are sharing copyrighted content over the Internet.

Canadian Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement, headquartered out of Montreal, says it has the technologies to monitor piracy and the illegal distribution of content through peer-to-peer and file sharing networks.

“We monitor, we identify the pirated content in a peer-to-peer platform and we harvest data resulting from connections to the pirated content,’ said CANIPRE managing director Barry Logan during an interview with CTV News Channel. “We assess the data in terms of it collecting the copyrighted material and we retain that information in evidence files.”

Ultimately it’s up to the producers of the copyrighted content whether or not to take legal action, said Logan.

“It’s up to the rights holders what to do with the evidence. If they decide to enforce their rights with the courts they may do so,” he said. “We’re not monitoring people, we’re monitoring the content. If people go to the pirated content to download it they may become subject to our monitoring efforts.”

When the movie and music industries began suing individuals in the U.S. for illegally sharing and downloading content, some of the damages were very high. In one case, a woman was ordered to pay $2 million for allegedly downloading two movies.

The Canadian government has put a maximum of $5,000 in damages for individual households that are caught downloading or distributing copyrighted content. However, websites that offer multiple titles could be hit $5,000 per download.

"It's not meant to be punitive or a witch-mission or anything of that sort,” said Logan. “It's really just to change the perception that downloading does harm and costs money".

UBC Professor of Computer Science Richard Rosenberg said an update on Canada’s copyright laws were overdue.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said. “Essentially make people aware of the law, and take very stringent action if they don't behave according to what the copyrighters believe their rights are."

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Peter Grainger