ISPs to Block 'GoldTV' Pirate IPTV service as per Canadian Federal Court Orders

Posted on 25/11/2019 by CS Web Solutions

Canada has witnessed its first ever site blocking order on the 15th of November 2019 when the Federal Court ordered the Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block websites for a company named GoldTV that is selling pirated television online. It has been further mentioned by the Court that the recent move would not infringe on the net neutrality or freedom of expression. This very step is currently being considered as a beneficial step for the copyright owners. 

GoldTV-blocked

Major ISPs in Canada like Bell, Rogers and Videotron had earlier filed a complaint in the Federal Court informing that the GoldTV.Ca was illegally selling subscriptions to various channels. After the nation-wide site- blocking order, critics have expressed their fear stating that it could further lead to censorship of legitimate content. 

About GoldTV

GoldTV was introduced as Canada’s premium IPTV provider that offers 4000 live TV channels in standard and high definition against a minimum amount of $15 per month. The Canadian TV channels its website offered include CityTV, CTV, Global and international channels include BBC, ESPN and Animal planet. 

What is web blocking

The term web blocking refers to the act of Government or Court’s issuing orders that compel the Internet Service Providers to block or ban their customers from having access to the websites that prolifically violates other people’s copyrights. This practice is not available in every country but the countries where they are, they have been termed as an anti-piracy tactic of the entertainment industry. 

Background

Over the past few years, unauthorized subscription services offering illegal access to live and on demand television content through user friendly interfaces have gained massive popularity. The masterminds behind the development, maintenance and promotion of these services are a group of software developers who skillfully hide their identities on the internet making it extremely challenging for the copyright owners to take any step against them.

As mentioned above, Bell Media Inc., Groupe TVA Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. (the “Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against the two popular unauthorized subscription services that work under GoldTV on 17th July 2019. They are the main players behind the distribution of a vast amount of content owned by Plaintiffs and third parties. Unfortunately, even after the complaint some of their services continued their operation. 

Following this incident Plaintiffs sought an order to force Canada’s primary ISPs to prohibit their subscribers from accessing the GoldTV services. This was the first time the Canadian court has granted such a remedy which is not clearly mentioned in the Canadian law but orders similar to this had been issued in the past in other jurisdiction like United Kingdom, France and Australia. 

Highlights of the decision

Most of the targeted ISPs of Canada have given their consent or agreed to the Court’s decision for site blocking but there an ISP who opposed it on various ground. It has even raised question on the Court’s right to issue the proposed order. It further added that the decision would be a clear threat to the principle of net neutrality. 

In its November 15, 2019, decision, the Federal Court agreed to order an assortment of ISPs to block access to the GoldTV.ca site as requested by Plaintiffs. 

According to the Honorable Mr Justice Gleeson the order could be granted under the Court’s general power as a court of equity to issue a ban in those cases where it seems to be fair or convenient to do so. The Court also considered the Supreme Court’s decision and reasons mentioned in Google Inc.v Eguustek Solutions Inc. (2017 SCC 34), where Google was ordered to remove all websites used by an infringing defendant from search engines. 

It is said that there was a direct influence of web-blocking in the UK on the Canadian Court’s recent decision. Talking about the recent move, critics mentioned that it is not a big deal for tech-savvy people to avoid the blockade. However, in some countries web blocking had been proven to be successful at some extent. 

In this context, Judge Patrick K Gleeson stated that although site blocking will not be able to completely eliminate user access to infringing services but evidence has made it clear that those jurisdiction where similar steps have been taken, there has a remarkable reduction in visits to such websites. He further added that he is satisfied with the current move which according to him is an effective way of limiting GoldTv services.

Conclusion

The decision is being considered as beneficial for Canadian Copyright owners who were dead against those who infringe their rights on the internet especially when they remain anonymous and located in foreign jurisdiction. The current decision follows a series of recent decision where the Federal Court has taken some major steps to reduce media pirates, explaining that media piracy needed proper attention in Canada to prevent its highly damaging impact on the society.

Back to Top

Request a Quote.Its Fast, Easy & Free

Back to Top