Citing a draft proposal to the CRTC, Canadaland is reporting that Bell is leading a coalition of Canada’s biggest media companies, that intends to to put an end to net neutrality in the name of blocking piracy.
According to the documents obtained by the source, the companies are pushing the telecom regulator to create a not-for-profit corporation called the “Internet Piracy Review Agency” (IPRA), that will be responsible for maintaining a blacklist of alleged pirate sites, and will force all internet service providers in the country to block access to them.
The source has revealed that the coalition includes broadcasters, movie studios, and cinema operators from across Canada. After Bell, some of the biggest names include Rogers, Cineplex, and Quebec theatre chain Cinémas Guzzo.
The coalition, which expects to file its application to the CRTC on December 19, doesn’t want to get U.S. studios and broadcasters as official applicants to the CRTC. Instead, it expects the American media giants to join the application after the process is initiated.
A spokesperson for Bell said he “couldn’t comment on any documents you might have,” but did go on to say that piracy was increasing, posing a threat to both creators and consumers. “We hope government, the content community, and consumers can come together to help deal with an issue that impacts all of us,” Marc Choma says in a statement.
While not saying the government would outright reject a piracy-blocking system, spokesperson Karl Sasseville says, “Our government supports an open internet where Canadians have the ability to access the content of their choice in accordance to Canadian laws.”
“While other parts of the world are focused on building walls, we’re focused on opening doors?.”
Meanwhile Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor and internet policy expert, believes that website blocking isn’t all that effective, saying that when you block one site, there are a number of others that pop up in the vacuum that’s created.