Bell Calls for Blocking and Criminalization of Copyright


Bell Canada has called on the government to support copyright and broadcast distribution reforms as a part of the NAFTA renegotiations.

The carrier’s proposal includes the creation of a CRTC-backed website blocking system and the criminalization of copyright. Bell is also supporting an overhaul of the current retransmission system for broadcasters.

Specifically, the company wants to support a “consent mode” that would keep U.S. stations out of the Canadian market or significantly increase their cost of entry.

Bell articulated its position at this week’s hearing of the Standing Committee on International Trade on NAFTA. Representatives from Rogers were also present at the meeting, and they took a quite different approach to how copyright changes should be handled.

Rogers believes that any changes to copyright law should be conducted in an open and public process. In contrast, Bell believes that the government should take a secretive approach to changing these laws.

So how does Bell envision this to work? When asked, a representative from the company said:

Our view on how we solve the piracy problem is it is not sort of coming up with new technological measures, it’s blocking access to piracy. How do you do that? We would like to see measures put in place whereby all Internet service providers are required to block consumer access to pirated websites. In our view, that is the only way to stop it. So you would mandate all ISPs across the country to essentially block access to a black list of egregious piracy sites. That would be job number one.

In our view it would be an independent agency that would be charged with that task. You certainly would not want ISPs acting as censors as to what content is pirate content. But, surely, an independent third party agency could be formed, could create a black list of pirate sites and then the ISPs would be required to block it. That is at a high level how we would see it unfolding, perhaps overseen by a regulator like the CRTC.

Bell would like the CRTC to police these allegations of copyright infringement and oversee the new website that manages the block list. The proposals by Bell indicate that the company’s position of being a common carrier that represents the concerns of all Canadian ISPs is over.

[via Michael Geist]


  • Good luck with building the next Wall of China.
    Piracy will never die.

  • Riddlemethis

    True. It’ll become much harder though and require more effort. As a society we have less time to do this. Only the unemployed or those who have a career in piracy will continue with their efforts.

  • Riddlemethis

    I stopped watching Canadian channels and programming long time ago. I’ll just cut the chord…I’m very close to it now thanks to those premium Chinese android boxes preloaded with subscription and non prescription based content…and no. I’m not referring to kodi.

  • Copy writer

    There have been studies that have shown that when content is provided for a reasonable price that piracy drops. You only need look at how many young people prefer to buy or stream their music over iTunes over piracy. Bell should pay attention to that.

    The days of finding ftp sites on university servers is over but things like Kodi are almost impossible to stop with VPN. I can borrow a book or movie or music from a library but not on the internet you say?

  • Bill___A

    We get US stations in Canada mostly because Canadians want then, not because they have a desire to be here. Bell appears to be reacting to the SuperBowl issue here. I do not think Canada’s broadcast and cable distribution policy should be based upon one annual program. We should have choices in Canada. That’s why we have imports and exports and why foreign airlines land here. If Bell created their own compelling content, rather than paying for rights of foreign content, it might be more compelling to watch their stations.

  • BeaveVillage

    Some days I’m glad I’m with Rogers. Bell can call all it wants, I’m not coming over unless they realize that I want American content–because it is BETTER than Canadian content.

  • Tim

    I just started using a 30-day trial of DirecTV Now yesterday. It’s much better than Bell Satellite/Fibe/Alt TV.

  • BeaveVillage

    That’s awesome, does it work by default in Canada or do you need a VPN?

  • Brenda

    If I didn’t have such a good deal with Bell, I’d be tempted to go to another provider because of their position on this.

    They just don’t get it. Cable is over. Some of us don’t want to watch any North American channels. We don’t want to be told where and when to watch either.

    A substantial part of our population has come to this country from all over and those of us born here have friends and family who do. We need to put an end to country by country licensing models.

    And with more streaming services like MHz coming to Canada (and CBC/Radio-Canada onlinefor those who want a little Canadian content in the mix) there’s no need for cable.

    And cable services have always been made available selectively and to areas with the densest populations. I’d rather see the CRTC focus on making high speed service available to all Canadians.

  • Jezzah

    If the great Chinese firewall is unable to overcome their citizen’s use of VPN’s to circumvent censorship, what hope does Bell, let alone the Canadian government have in policing its citizen’s online viewing habits?

  • awkpain

    Beyond the fact that it’s the internet… and for as long as it spans more than one country which do not also have the same limitations in place… there will be no way to block piracy. As others have mentioned… a good extreme example is the great firewall of China.

    Second… there have been a few studies now that show that piracy actually increases profits by increasing viewership. The more viewers you have, the more you have buying the full seasons, etc.

    Third… stop raising prices and making it impossible to get content. A good example of this is Game of Thrones in Canada. Don’t want to pay for a cable package? Well then you can’t watch the show legally. Also seeing prices like $5-10 per episode on some platforms is disgusting. Increased viewership would mean increased profits at lower prices.

  • BigCat

    I don’t think we will ever seen anything as restrictive as in China. This is a good thing because even though the Chinese internet restrictions are not fool proof, they can be very difficult to reliably get around. And getting around them does carry a small amount of risk.

    As for dealing with piracy Steve Jobs demonstrated one of the first effective models, which was “iTunes”. Apple managed to convince the major record labels that sort term pain would insure their survival. As a result piracy now had competition so to speak. Consumers would be won over through quality, choice, and price.

  • Lonetreejim

    Bell seems to prefer regulation over a good business plan. No need to be competitive if we ban all the competitors.

    They need to stop thinking about the good old days!

  • Tim

    A VPN or DNS Proxy is needed.