Illegal streaming of TV and movie programming fueled by the sale of illicit streaming devices (ISDs) (such as fully loaded Kodi boxes) and websites that make available to the public software add-ons configured and marketed to facilitate receipt of pirate streams is a real problem in Canada. The most effective way of reducing this type of illegal streaming is by the use of website blocking, something the CRTC will have to consider in the FairPlay Canada website blocking application.
A court in the Northern District of California in Google LLC v. Equustek Solutions Inc. issued a preliminary injunction on November 2, 2017 enjoining Equustek from enforcing the global de-indexing order it obtained against Google in a British Columbia court. Later that year, as Equustek did not defend the proceeding, the court issued a one page default judgment making the injunction permanent.
The Hill Times published my op-ed on the FairPlay Canada website blocking proposal, Why the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s piracy site-blocking plan. The full unedited version, complete with endnote references is below.
Last week Fairplay Canada filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), asking for a new tool to help Canadian creators to combat online theft of their content by illegal piracy websites. It proposed that the Canada’s telecom regulator create an independent agency to identify websites and services that are “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy”. Following a fair procedural process, the agency could recommend that a site be blocked by ISPs. Then, if the CRTC agreed, that quasi-judicial administrative agency could use its lawful authority to order ISPs to block the site.
OPC position on online reputation: search engines must de-index privacy violating personal informationJanuary 27th, 2018 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »
Are search engines subject to PIPEDA? Should they be required to de-index web pages such as when information about an individual is inaccurate, incomplete or outdated, ;or when the linked to information is illegal? Should search engines be subject to a notice and de-indexing or demotion regime? And, should search engines be required to geo-fence to ensure that search results containing personal information about Canadians that violates PIPEDA is not made accessible in Canada regardless of which domain a Canadian searches on? In a Draft OPC Position on Online Reputation released yesterday in response to a public consultation, the answer to each of those questions was YES.
Here is my full unedited op-ed published in today’s Globe and Mail.
The cultural industries in Canada are facing major challenges. A significant contributing cause is our outdated legal frameworks. They did not contemplate, and have not been updated to address, the new means of stealing content or uses of content by Internet platforms and others without permission or paying just compensation. These issues and proposals to address them deserve our attention. Two examples are illustrative.
The first involves Internet streaming piracy. Canadians have a plethora of ways to watch television and movie programming, including over-the-air broadcasts, cable, satellite, authorized IPTV services, and over-the-top services such as Netflix.
There was a time you could count on The Globe and Mail to support the Canadian cultural industries and to favour legal frameworks designed to strengthen them. You could also count on the Globe not to be soft on content theft by commercial pirates that harm Canadian businesses and impede their ability to innovate. Recently, however, the Globe has taken one-sided positions opposite the creative community. Worse, it has taken these positions relying on inadequate research and supporting them with inaccurate factual assertions, in some cases by relying on writings of anti-copyright activist Michael Geist.
Site blocking is an important tool to reduce online copyright piracy. As I argued in a recent blog post, Website blocking proposal good policy, there are persuasive reasons why these orders should also be available in Canada.
Some opponents of effective protection for the creative industries, broadcasters and distributors oppose site blocking, questioning whether it is effective and suggesting it is a disproportionate remedy, despite the studies and decisions around the world that show otherwise.
CANADALAND recently reported (Inside Bell’s Push To End Net Neutrality In Canada) that a coalition of Canadian companies is considering a proposal to have Canada’s telecommunications and broadcast regulator, the CRTC, establish a regime to block egregious copyright infringing websites.
The proposal is long overdue and, if adopted, would modernize Canada’s laws relating to Internet piracy and bring them into line with those of many of our trading partners. The proposal is not an attack on net neutrality; rather it is an efficient means of stopping content theft. If adopted, the proposal could stop the hemorrhaging that Canadian creators, producers, actors, broadcasters and distributors are suffering due to the scourge of illegal streaming services. The criticisms of the proposal are overblown and contain factually inaccurate statements.
The fall is usually accompanied by some great conferences for tech and communications lawyers. This year is no exception.
The IT.Can 21st Annual Conference will be held on October 23 and 24, 2017 at the St. Andrew’s Club and Conference Centre in Toronto. There are some terrific plenaries and break-out sessions, as usual. This is the best annual conference for Canadian tech lawyers and a great way to catch up on recent developments. The conference brochure and registration information can be found at IT.Can’s website.