Canada’s largest communication companies including Rogers and Quebecor have joined forces with content creators (CBC, Corus Entertainment, etc.) and unions across the country to stop the illegal download and streaming of movies, TV shows, live sports and music.
Together, they have filed an application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to block all websites that give access to pirated materials. According to their analysis, piracy accounts for a $55-billion loss in Canada’s cultural industries. In fact, in 2017 alone, over 1 million Canadian households owned Android boxes that allowed them to access pirated materials for free.
Fair Play Canada, the given name for the coalition, urges the CRTC to mandate an “Independent Piracy Review Agency” that would be dedicated to identifying all the websites involved in pirating materials. The CRTC would then order all Canadian internet service providers to block those websites, as well as issue warnings to viewers who are suspected of illegally downloading or streaming from them.
While many people are showing their support for this initiative, others believe it is a violation of net neutrality, which pushes the case that internet providers should treat all content equally. Some fear that providers could end up abusing their power to block websites at their will.
Navdeep Bains, the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minster, spoke on this matter by assuring that Canada remains committed to “maintaining one of the best intellectual property and copyright frameworks int he world to support creativity and innovation to the benefit of artists, creators consumers and all Canadians.”
The CRTC has confirmed it will review the proposal and also assured Canadians of their strong commitment to net neutrality.