FairPlay coalition calling for CRTC to blacklist piracy websites

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on January 30th, 2018

A group of big players in the media industry are calling on the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications (CRTC) organization to “institute mandatory blocking of websites accused of piracy”.

The FairPlay Canada coalition --which includes Bell, Rogers, CBC, Corus Entertainment, Cineplex and Cogeco-- wants the CRTC to start blocking any website believed to engage in cinematic or musical piracy.

“’The jobs of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work in the creative sector are at risk as a result of increasing online piracy, from songwriters and set builders to makeup artists and local news reporters,’ the coalition said in a press release issued Monday.”

They are pointedly aware that payments from legitimate streaming services that go on to support these employees are being underwhelmed because of numerous piracy websites.

FairPlay wants the CRTC to begin blacklisting websites who use their copyrighted materials and force Canadian internet providers to comply with blocking websites found to be criminal, barring public access.

The campaign was started by Bell Canada, but has now seen more than two dozen related companies join the movement. Bell also wants internet blocking to be included in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations.

Internet provider watchdogs criticized the proposal for lack of oversight; they believe there would be too much nuance in deciding which websites would be banned. FairPlay fired back and suggested the new piracy agency would “be subject to oversight by the Federal Court of Appeal,” meaning that blacklisted websites could file a claim to be investigated if they feel they are doing nothing against the law.

"We support efforts to stop piracy of copyrighted content," CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix said in a statement. "Groups who steal and re-sell content without permission are breaking the law and undermining financial support for culture."

Other analysts are calling the proposal officially sanctioned internet censorship.

“The proposal ‘is like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito,' OpenMedia executive director Laura Tribe said. ‘It will undoubtedly lead to legitimate content and speech being censored online, violating our right to free expression and the principles of net neutrality, which the federal government has consistently pledged support for.’”

The U.K., France and Australia all have similar online censoring mechanisms in place. Television providers are losing cable subscriptions at a rate of nearly 200,000 per annum.

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