A federal court in Canada has ordered all the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to block a company from fering pirated television channels online.
This is the first time that Canada has ordered a nationwide ISP blocking order, which some believe is setting a precedent that could have negative consequences in the future.
The order blocks a company called Gold TV, which fers customers 4,000 live television channels online for as little as 15 Canadian dollars a month, in both high and standard definition. Among the channels it fers include ESPN, BBC, Animal Planet and a slew popular Canadian channels.
A coalition large Canadian media companies, which includes Bell Media, Groupe TVA and Rogers Media, insists that Gold has not licensed the rights to the shows that it is broadcasting.
The judge in the case has given the nation’s ISPs 15 days to comply with the order.
The coalition issued a statement in response to the court order. It said, “Content theft remains a critical threat to Canada’s creative sector, impacting rights holders and creators across the industry and causing hundreds millions dollars in damages and thousands lost jobs.”
They further insist that similar orders have been given in countries such as United Kingdom, Australia and France.
But not everyone in Canada is happy with the order.
Michael Geist, who is a law pressor at the University Ottawa, said, “Once you start inviting site blocking it won’t surprise people if we start seeing other groups who have their own issues and their own perceived harms argue that we ought to adopt the same approach for their issue. The so-called slippery slope is a very real concern.”
Some ISPs are not happy, either. Andy Kaplan-Myrth, who is vice president TekSavvy, said that a “blocking order is a grave violation network neutrality and a fundamental change to what we do as internet service providers.”