Canadian ISPs And Hollywood Agree On Plan To Make Themselves Judge, Jury and Website Executioner

from the who-needs-government? dept

If you take a quick look through the long history of posts we've done on the subject of site-blocking as a method for combating piracy, you'll notice that we've been fairly critical of the courts in various countries, which are issuing the blocking orders commonly. Here in America, the story is essentially the same, with only minor differences in the laws or lack of laws between each country causing barely different legal justifications for the censorship of sites that one entertainment group or another says is infringing. Too often, the courts appear to take plaintiff claims of infringement as gospel, where in some countries there is even a governmental framework that seems perfectly designed to abuse this process and have compliant courts exert as much collateral damage as possible. Our point all along is that there needs to be a refining of this process to keep the censorship out of the results and ensure that no speech that ought to be protected is caught up in the mix.

It should go without saying that the new plan being concocted by Canadian ISPs and various entertainment groups is not what we had in mind.

A coalition of movie industry companies and ISPs, including Bell, Rogers, and Cineplex are discussing a proposal to implement such measures. The Canadian blocklist would be maintained by a new non-profit organization called “Internet Piracy Review Agency” (IPRA) and enforced through the CTRC, Canadaland reports.

The new proposal is being discussed by various stakeholders including ISPs and local movie companies. As in other countries, major American movie companies are also in the loop, but they will not be listed as official applicants when the plan is submitted to the CRTC.

If something appears to be missing in all of that, it's probably because the plan doesn't make any room for anything resembling judicial oversight or the court system. Rather, this would all be implemented without any court orders or even filings from any actual copyright holder. Instead, rightsholders would inform ISPs that a site is "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" built purely to engage in copyright infringement, and the ISPs would take it down. I'm sure the idea is to keep this to the most egregious of sites that are often quite bare of legitimate and protected speech, except we already know just how shitty ISPs are at being copyright cops, so it seems clear that they'll be relying almost exclusively on the word of rightsholders to implement these site-blocks.

Critics, including Michael Geist, are not pleased.

“Recent history suggests that the list will quickly grow to cover tougher judgment calls. For example, Bell has targeted TVAddons, a site that contains considerable non-infringing content,” Geist notes.

“It can be expected that many other sites disliked by rights holders or broadcasters would find their way onto the block list,” he adds.

Fortunately, all of this would have to go before the Canadian government before going into operations, and the CRTC doesn't seem to be all that enthused.

Thus far, the Government appears to be reluctant in its response. In comments to Canadaland spokesperson Karl Sasseville stressed that Canada maintains committed to an open Internet.

“Our government supports an open internet where Canadians have the ability to access the content of their choice in accordance to Canadian laws,” Sasseville says. “While other parts of the world are focused on building walls, we’re focused on opening doors‎.”

The timing of this is also quite poor, given the unfortunate conversation about net neutrality that is occurring with Canada's sub-friendly neighbors to its south. See, site-blocking has never been fully conflated with net neutrality thus far, in large part because the courts have been an admittedly imperfect check on telecom industry power abuse. But in this plan there is no court to provide that check, only a loose government agency oversight twice separated from the ISPs actions by a newly crafted non-profit.

Meanwhile, of course, the very attempt to skirt any representatives of the democratic government and its court system is about as against the public interest as it gets, as Geist points out.

“The government rightly seems dismissive of the proposal in the Canadaland report but as leading Internet providers, Bell and Rogers should be ashamed for leading the charge on such a dangerous, anti-speech and anti-consumer proposal,” Geist concludes.

Here, here.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 1:46pm

    here, here.

    I presume you mean "hear, hear?"

    Or are you suggesting that Geist's statement should apply to the US as well?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 1:59pm

    Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

    MORE MERE PREDICTION -- FAVORING PIRACY. Save your outrage for when someone actually is falsely accused.

    By the way: from LACK of Techdirt re-writing EFF / Torrent Freak recently, I guess that you're a little glum over how pirates are uniformly losing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 2:36pm

      Re: Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

      Oh, you mean like that elderly gentleman from Hawaii who couldn't even use a computer that that was accused of torrenting a bunch of movies? You mean like that falsely accused?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 3:40pm

      Re: Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

      Damn dude, you’re projecting at a Trumpian level. Bravo for going all in.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 7 Dec 2017 @ 4:26pm

      Re: Save your outrage for when someone actually is falsely accused.

      Because that hasn’t happened already, has it...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 7:57pm

      Re: Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

      John Steele was arrested. Sucks to be you!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 2:57am

      Re: Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

      You can always tell when the idiots are angry and have nothing to add, they whine about what's *not* being written.

      "Save your outrage for when someone actually is falsely accused."

      So, since that happens on a regular basis, he's OK to write exactly what he's written? Glad you agree!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rapnel (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 7:01am

      Re: Be NO problem finding "blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally" piratical.

      Riight. So pay no attention to the absolutely blistering effects of policing piracy (rather, having everyone except you police it for you) on the medium.

      Foolhardy idiots. Why make it better when you can just expend that energy on trying to fuck the world over again and again at every single corner of new tech?

      You're god damn right I favor piracy over the means and methods of the current direction on these matters. Far and away. Your fucking shit is in tatters and, whelp, fuck the world, I'm keeping mine.

      Nasty shit we've got going on, nasty shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DONT BE STUPID BE EDUCATED, 7 Dec 2017 @ 2:07pm

    no wrong

    bell canada , telus and rogers agree, the rest of the isps say go fuck yourself

    and if they block we went down this road before the crtc said they cant block

    that was about the throttling fight we won that led to a lot of net neutrality rules and trust me they dont want to open that up

    and unless you see the CRTC in this all it means is you can move to teksavvy which is canada wide and be done with these idiot isps and while teksavvy might piggy a bit on some of there networks they have fought for our rights and ill say it they got the rules that protect us

    teksavvy.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 8:59pm

      Re: no wrong

      I haven't seen Telus listed - just Bell and Rogers (who conveniently own tv channels and some of the content on them... ).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 5:42am

        Re: Re: no wrong

        Bell and Rogers (who conveniently own tv channels and some of the content on them... )

        I was going to say the same. It's yet another example of them trying to support one of their markets by harming another. In this case TV vs. internet access; previously, it was their wireline divisions vs. third-party ISPs.

        The government should be splitting them up, as the UK did: at the very least, the wireline monopolies shouldn't be owned by any company that provides phone, internet, or TV. Then people could use independent providers to avoid these anti-consumer policies. Preferably, their TV and ISP divisions should be separate too.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DocRobot (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: no wrong

          The Canadian government should not have allowed the ISPs, cellular and Cable Companies to own TV Channels and content in the first place...

          What I do not understand is why Bell, which has, iirc, the majority shareholder being the Ontario Teacher's Union, being so anti consumer. Those teachers should correct the ship's course.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 6:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: no wrong

            What I do not understand is why Bell, which has, iirc, the majority shareholder being the Ontario Teacher's Union, being so anti consumer. Those teachers should correct the ship's course.

            Does the Teacher's Union have a history of "activist investing" like that? Or the teachers of pushing the union to do that?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:56pm

      Re: no wrong

      Hate to burst your bubble, but Teksavvy is not Canada wide. If there is no infrastructure for them to piggy back on to, there is no way for them to serve you. Where I live there is no Bell DSL or Cable provider available and we are less than 10 miles from the largest city in the area. So the only option here is wireless and Teksavvy can't offer service on their platform.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DONT BE STUPID BE EDUCATED, 7 Dec 2017 @ 2:09pm

    oh ya about any americans on this so called treasonous stakeholder meeting

    you dont want nafta go f### yourselves hollywood ( USA )

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 2:19pm

    Rogers is one of the largest holders of sports broadcast rights in Canada while Bell holds most of the re-broadcast of US television rights. Quite frankly I'm shocked they didn't push harder, sooner, and more aggressively.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 2:42pm

    Ordering ISPs to block "infringing" websites, as has happened for years throughout much of Europe, has been a futile cat-and-mouse affair. People can simply go through a proxy to reach the site, until that proxy is targeted also, then they find another.

    And then once a site is added to the blacklist, it becomes permanent, remaining long after the original site has closed down and the domain name eventually taken over by some completely unrelated site whose owner may have no clue that it's being blocked in Canada and other countries throughout the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 5:26pm

    If NN had provisions against SHIT like this I would be more supportive of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Dec 2017 @ 9:20pm

    Oh this can't possibly go wrong!

    So far all programs like this have flagged too many false positives and not slowed down detectable piracy rates.

    In all sincerity, I wonder: what is their new angle?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2017 @ 10:08pm

      Re: Oh this can't possibly go wrong!

      The IFPI has already admitted that it's given up on the moral angle approach.

      My guess is that it's the same reason as they're using for the net neutrality repeal. "Fuck you, that's why."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 12:00am

        That's a double edge sword.

        The fuck you, that's why approach means there's really no grounds to complain when the opposition responds with IEDs. When they do, it simply means they've accepted the proposed terms of engagement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 8:42am

      Re: Oh this can't possibly go wrong!

      Same goal as all the other 'anti-piracy' schemes I would guess, cracking down on potential competition.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2017 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re: Oh this can't possibly go wrong!

        If Kim Dotcom's MegaNet ever gets of the ground Hollywood will have one major nuclear fit in trying every thing it can to destroy it as they won't have any control over it whatsoever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DONT MAKE ME LAUGH, 8 Dec 2017 @ 2:54am

    THS STORY IS NOW 100% DEAD

    THE NAFTA TRADE DEAL WITH CANADA ACCORDING TO THE CANADIAN GOVT WANTS TO INCLUDE STRONG PROVISIONS FOR NET NEUTRALITY, SO IF YOUR GOVT PASSES REMOVAL NAFTA DEAL IS DEAD.

    AND LOOK AT TEH SOURCES OF THIS PROPOGANDA ALL NON GOVT ITS LIKE THEY ARE TRYING TO PULL SOMETHING THAT IS CURRENTLY ILLEGAL AND NO REGIME WILL AID THEM....

    BTW EVERYONE STAR TREK TOS FROM 1967-69 ACCORDING TO CANUCK LAW GOES INTO PUBLIC DOMAIN IN CANADA

    HAPPPPPPPY NEW YEAR

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DocRobot (profile), 8 Dec 2017 @ 11:26am

    We have our boycott list...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2017 @ 11:05am

    Copywrong always ruining the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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