Yesterday, it was reported that Bell is leading a coalition of Canada’s biggest media companies, that intends to put an end to net neutrality in the name of blocking piracy and now, Shaw is also making the case for website blocking by devoting several pages to supporting it. According to Michael Geist, Shaw seeks to equate access to grey market satellite services with unauthorized streaming services.
While Rogers has indicated that it is still considering whether to join Bell’s coalition or not, Shaw is focused on granting approvals for blocking with court oversight.
Shaw acknowledges that Canadian copyright law already addresses Internet piracy and that court orders can be obtained to shut down services that violate the law. It however argues that even with a court order, the CRTC must still approve website blocking.
Shaw submits that the CRTC should consider using its authority under section 36 to approve court orders for ISPs to block access to online services infringing Canadian copyright law. While the Telecommunications Act’s objectives articulated in section 7 do not refer directly to the promotion or protection of a Canadian rights market, there is a clear case that blocking access to illegal streaming services responds to the “economic and social requirements of user of telecommunication services”, in furtherance of paragraph 7(e).
As carriers are lining up in support of some form of website blocking, the issue is already sparking a political backlash, with Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux raising the issue in the House of Commons yesterday. You can read more about it at this link.