Canada’s latest anti-piracy legislation has some downloading fans questioning whether it’s time to swear off their favourite torrent sites — or whether the warning system creates a legal watchdog who can bark but not bite.

The Copyright Modernization Act, which took effect Jan.1, requires Internet service providers to send notifications to downloaders whose IP addresses have been identified by copyright holders for perceived violations. The legislation limits the amount a non-commercial downloader can be sued for to $5,000 per case, while damages for commercial infringements can be charged up to $20,000.

But many of us are still scratching our heads about what the new legislation means for the average user and whether anything will change. So we had a chat with Canada’s e-law expert Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, to find out.

Can you explain to our readers what exactly changed on Jan. 1, and why?

via Canada’s New Unauthorized Downloading Rules: A Q&A With Michael Geist.