Bell Asks Employees to File CRTC Submissions to Support Website Blocking Proposal [u]


Last month, Bell and a coalition of other media companies, including Rogers, CBC, Quebecor, Corus and more, announced the launch of FairPlay Canada, which is urging the CRTC to create a website blocking service to blacklist piracy websites.

This non-profit organization FairPlay Canada wants to create, would be called the Internet Piracy Review Agency (IPRA), and its mandate would have Internet service providers comply to block nefarious websites which spread piracy, which results in fewer users subscribing to cable TV or paying for content.

Now, according to Ottawa Law Professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, Michael Geist, Bell has started to encourage its own employees to file submissions to the CRTC to help support the website blocking proposal from FairPlay Canada:

Mgeist 2018 Feb 20

The corporate memo was shared with Geist from one of his sources and reads “help stop online piracy and protect content creators.” Bell informs employees to “make your voice heard” and to send comments to the CRTC online, encouraging support for FairPlay Canada.

Currently, the CRTC is holding public consultations on the matter and to date, thousands of Canadians have submitted comments opposing the website blocking plan, which many argue endangers net neutrality in Canada.

According to FairPlay Canada, “online piracy is theft, plain and simple”, which apparently affects 630,000 Canadian jobs.

Back in 2015, Bell was fined $1.25 million by the Competition Bureau, for having employees post fake glowing reviews of the company’s apps in the App Store. Now, it is encouraging employees to post CRTC submissions supporting FairPlay Canada, which appears disingenuous.

Earlier today, Geist argued on his blog, a website blocking service would most likely erroneously over-block thousands of legitimate websites, as has been the case in other jurisdictions around the world, who have tried similar setups.

Update: Here’s what Geist has to say on this issue, as he has posted about it on his website:

There is nothing on the materials I was provided that indicated Bell also encouraged employees to disclose their affiliation to the company. As of today, there is only one submission of more than 5,200 that lists Bell as the company affiliation (and that intervention is unlikely to be affiliated with Bell). All Canadians can provide their views on the website blocking proposal, but corporate encouragement to employees to participate in regulatory processes on the company’s behalf may raise the kinds of concerns regarding misleading impressions that sparked the Commissioner of Competition to intervene in 2015.


  • Aleks Oniszczak

    So it’s called FairPlay Canada and they talk about Canadian artists, so I guess Bell cares so much about Canadian content providers that they exclusively promote and show only Canadian content. WHAT, they don’t??? Well, I guess it’s all about the money after all.

  • Sterling Archer

    Lol yeah okay bell.

    It’s amazing how tone deaf this makes them seem. And corrupt. hella corrupt.

  • It’s Me

    Guaranteed that the only content they care about blocking is the US content their hegemony controls Canadian distribution rights for. They’d all allow access to all Canadian content and their own teenage daughters if they could block piracy of the US media they distribute.

  • Timrules

    Astroturf much?

  • Joe

    All the telcos are corrupt, but Bell is definitely the worst one.

  • Jennica

    Typical Bell… Forget world peace… I just want a world without Bell.

  • Kattz

    Ok, so everyone knows that we’re talking about Kodi boxes here. I’m not going to defend pirates but all if us shouldn’t lose our rights because they want to stop people from watching content that they could, for the most part, get legally anyways.

    As a cord-cutter, I know that 90% of what most people watch is network TV. Network TV is available for free to anyone who puts up an antenna. Now that we have digital TV, over the air broadcasts are actually BETTER than anything you get on cable or satellite. The cable and satellite companies simply receive the signal, compress it and resell it to you. You don’t even have to put up a tower. The new “rabbit ear” type of antennas are good enough in a big city. What most Kodi users do is no more illegal than using an antenna and a DVR .

    The second argument is that most Kodi users can’t afford the expensive package anyways. These people are going to ask a friend or relative to record the shows that they can’t receive and watch it at their house . Bell is not losing out on a subscriber.

    Kodi boxes simply search for a link to a show or movie and then play it. These links can be accessed by any internet connected device .Bell wants to block access to these links. The danger is that we are going to have a censored internet and Bell (and the other media companies) are going to want to expand those powers . The so-called losses are being greatly inflated. They did the same thing with downloaded movies. The “loss” was calculated at the retail cost of the DVD when it should have been calculated as the royalty for a rental .

    TL;DR. Bell is greatly inflating the so-called losses due to piracy in order to take away your rights to a free and open internet .

  • Kattz

    We are still paying a fee every time that we purchase a blank CD or casette tape. That’s why blank CDs cost more than blank DVDs. This has been going on since the 90s .AFAIK no one has ever figured out how to distribute that money to Canadian artists and someone, somewhere has a very large bank account .

  • David

    People wouldn’t pirate if you provided a decent selection with 0 advertising at a fair price that’s affordable. People don’t want to watch your crappy ads or be limited in selection from one country to another. Pirating has no borders or rules or costs, and that’s why it’s popular. The film industry has gouged customers for decades. It’s time they realize they’ve lost, and charge a nominal fee for content we want, and we’ll pay. I’ve never paid for cable because of the ads, can’t stand them.

  • b_c

    Bell is not a ‘Company’, it’s a Crime Syndicate. Not even organized crime has such outrageous gouging practices. It would love nothing more than have the government working to do its dirty deeds. I hope the CRTC will see through its deceptive practices. We will never be able to rest until this criminal organization is dismantled for good. >:-(

  • Jezzah

    VPN. Checkmate bell.

  • Kate

    Ads sure are a PITA, but they are revenue.
    If cable companies didn’t have ads but higher prices, people would whine about that too..

  • toysandme

    I gave up tv years ago and never looked back. The amount of advertising was intolerable. I kept wearing out the MUTE button on my remotes. Much of what I watch on the net has been “demonetized” (censored) because it doesn’t buy into the fake news MSM promotes so there are no ads. I can also archive anything controversial before it gets censored.