Rogers VP Calls for Canadian Government to Shutdown VPNs, Enforce Copyright

The Content Industry Connect conference was held in Toronto yesterday and featured speakers such as TV executives from Rogers, Bell, Shaw Media and Corus.

According to live-tweets of the conference, Rogers senior vice president David Purdy made comments that caught the eye of law professor Michael Geist.

Specifically, the Rogers VP called for the Federal government to shut down VPN access to Canadians and also enforce copyright, according to the following tweets on the web by media policy expert Kelly Lynne-Ashton, Bell Fund program manager Marcia Douglas and the conference organizers themselves:

It appears Rogers is frustrated with Canadians accessing U.S. Netflix using VPN services. By doing so, Canadians bypass the exclusives Rogers has in its own streaming service, shomi.

Professor Geist says Rogers should take up the VPN issue with Netflix directly and not consumers. He concludes how a ban on consumer VPN usage would lead down a slippery slope:

Instead, focusing on consumer VPN use by suggesting that the solution lies in blocking legal technologies in order to stop consumer access is a dangerous one. Countries like China have tried to regulate VPNs, while Iran and Oman have tried to ban them. A Canadian attempt to do so would be subject to an immediate legal challenge, particularly since virtual private networks are widely used within the business community and play a crucial role for consumers in preserving user privacy, enabling access to information, and facilitating free speech. There is no indication that the Canadian government has any interest in targeting VPNs, but it comes as a shock to hear a Rogers executive calling for them to be shut down.

Earlier this year, reports of Netflix cracking down on VPN and proxy users caused a stir but the streaming service–which has 57 million users worldwide–responded with the following, denying it was making any changes:

Virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restrictions. We employ industry standard measures to prevent this kind of use. There hasn’t been any recent changes to the Netflix VPN policy or terms of use.

Netflix is surely aware there are plenty of Canadians using VPN services to access their U.S. library. But whether they will do anything to stop these users is another thing. According to Media Technology Monitor, their recent study indicated 29 per cent of English speaking Canadians subscribe to Netflix.

What do you think about the Rogers’ suggestion to ‘shut down’ VPN usage in Canada?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • ipostic

    I wish they would put as much effort into bringing the licensing/copyright reform so we get access to similar programming as our US friends. Instead, they concentrate on short term ban/blockage that don’t solve the reason why people choose to pirate or use VPN to watch content online.

  • meisenst

    Oh Rogers. You still don’t understand.

    STOP BENDING US OVER. Then, we’ll buy your services. Or, continue to be greedy, and your business will die, because we refuse to bow to your will. Get it yet? No? Well, that’s cool, because I’m not your customer anyway — haven’t been in years. And I’m happier now, with more choice in what I watch, when I watch it, and how to legally obtain it.

    Please, by all means, continue to whine about unfair it is. Generations of Canadians are learning that you’re not needed anymore.

  • Robellus_sux

    Dear government I am a multi-billion dollar company but my latest business model is flawed and unsustainable. People are using anonymizing proxies that allow them to appear to emerge onto the internet in foreign lands please enact laws to restrict their freedom to do so and also arrest my potential customers that break that law so they’re forced to use my services. If not I might have to offer my services in a way that will be less expensive and more attractive than the services they’re using now. But by fixing the problem this way I will make considerably less profit. Please act in my interest not the interest of the people that elected you.

  • Vinnie

    I think this is ridiculous. The only reason Rogers can get away with this is because they are too big to fail. If they weren’t I would say boycott them.

  • 416iMac

    How about improving your products/services as opposed to having regulators legislate your competition away?

  • aaloo

    canadian licensing sucks. same reason we don’t have office in our netflix or iTunes radio.

  • Shawzborne

    Ill just switch internet providers if I had to, they are pretty stupid bunch of morons

  • Corey Beazer

    In other news… Rogers VP can eat a Dl*K

  • talkiewalkie

    Rogers, just 1 month after asking the government to make Canadians pay more taxes is screwing us all over again. We have to get rid of these leeches.

  • gif jpeg

    Spot on!

  • kkritsilas

    Mr. Prime Minister:

    I am the president of Rogers. I have made a 5 Billion dollar investment in buying NHL hockey broadcast rights, at a price that no other company in Canada would have ever dreamed of paying. I had no plan on how I was going to recoup these expenditures, much less see any sort of profit from this investment. So, I am asking you to limit the freedom that Canadians have in order to make up my mis-guided investment. I am essentially asking for the same environment that we enjoy in the mobile phone space: that is, want to be able to rip off Canadians at will, with the implicit approval of the government that we have had in the past. It is no longer enough for us to be able to rip off mobile phone users, we now need to be able to rip off Internet and cable users to the same degree.

    Kostas (a Rogers mobile user for the next 8 months or so).

  • xxxJDxxx

    As soon as I heard that Canadian content providers were launching a netflix competitor I knew this was coming. As will a bigger push to stop torrenting.

  • kd7iwp

    I switched to TekSavvy and it’s been working flawlessly over a year and a half. It amuses me that I can get a better price from an ISP who has to pay rental fees to Shaw/Rogers to use their infrastructure. If TekSavvy can make it paying rental fees, I can’t imagine how high the margins are for Shaw/Rogers using their own infrastructure.

  • TechEnthused

    I am actually proud of CRTC for not letting Bell, Rogers and Telus suck everything out of the consumers. They don’t compete with each other simply cuz they sleep with each other to have the same prices on all types of services.

    Endorse Wind Mobile and TekSavvy so they can evolve to bring down selfish organizations like Rogers! They have created a culture in Canada where the client has to bend over if they use their services.

    If your not a customer of TekSavvy or Wind, this VP is giving your a reason to switch over with comments like these.

  • Tim

    In other news… Rogers VP can eat a bag of Dl*KS

    FTFY

  • Tim

    “we don’t have office in our netflix or iTunes radio.”

    what?

  • msenger

    < EEVANS

    ,,,although Lucille `s bl0g is incredible, on wednesday I g0t a great new F0rd Focus since I been making $5967 this – four weeks past and in excess of ten/k lass-month . it’s actualy the coolest work Ive had . I began this four months/ago and practically straight away was making minimum $78… per/hr __

    ?????

  • KosmoBo

    The part which they are not getting is that if there is no access to US Netflix, the people whch were not using it will still not sign for shom

  • James Vang

    I live in Canada and i am able to watch Netflix and Hulu from past couple of years without any problem. I think my VPN Providers is smarter than Canadia Government 🙂
    I choose my VPN Provider from VpnRnaks and suggest to all vpn users.

  • Erika Crawford

    Yup spot on!

  • EEEOW

    FFWD to 2016 for the funniest part:

    Rogers: We sell VPN’s now.