Bell and Netflix Among Companies Suing Alleged Piracy Service
The plaintiffs are calling on the Federal Court to halt Soap2day’s operations and force two Canada-based website hosting platforms, Register.TO and OVH Hosting Inc., to reveal information related to the alleged infringement.
The application, filed earlier in June 2023, seeks to immediately halt Soap2day’s operations and demands the disclosure of operational information, including domains and delivery services, from Register.TO and OVH Hosting Inc. The plaintiffs maintain these platforms host the infringing content, exclusive licenses for which are held by them.
According to the plaintiffs, the Soap2day platform operates from at least 17 different internet addresses and hosts nearly 10,000 movies and around 1,000 television programs. The sprawling operation reportedly presents a challenge for legal action due to its lack of a single target IP address.
The plaintiffs argue that Soap2day’s user-friendly interface mirrors legitimate subscription-based streaming services, which can lead some users to overlook its illegitimate nature. They claim that between November 2021 and November 2022, the platform received 1.4 billion global visits, with Canadian users making up 11.8% of these visits, or 167 million visits in total.
The Soap2day service, which has reportedly been operational since early 2018, displays ads next to videos, and previously ran a VIP paid subscription. If the court does not grant their request, the plaintiffs assert that they will suffer substantial financial harm.
The plaintiffs in the case include Netflix, Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Prairie Pants Productions, Spinner Productions, Sphere Media, and Get’er Done Productions.
On the Soap2Day website’s FAQ asking whether the service is legal or not? Here’s what it claims:
“There are varying opinions on this matter. We maintain the position that the site is legal because it doesn’t store any video content on its servers that violates copyright laws. On the movie and TV show pages, you will find embedded players from popular video hosting sites. The remaining information, such as posters, movie synopses, genres, and actor lists, is publicly available and legal. However, some believe that the site is illegal. We leave it to the conscience of those who hold that belief.”
Interestingly, Bell is concurrently facing a $400-million lawsuit from movie studios alleging that the company failed to deliver copyright infringement notices to its subscribers. Bell has denied these allegations and is urging the courts to investigate the studios’ supposed abuse of the notice system, reports Cartt.ca.
Last June, a Federal Court granted Bell, Rogers and Quebecor ‘unprecedented’ power to ban websites with pirated NHL streams, as the ongoing game of cat and mouse continues when it comes to online piracy.