Tag Archives: canada

Copyright Holders Want to ‘Quietly’ Expand Canada’s Pirate Site Blocklist

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-holders-want-to-quietly-expand-canadas-pirate-site-blocklist-200318/

Late last year, Canada’s Federal Court approved the first piracy blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from three major media companies, Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

The blocking injunction is part of a regular copyright infringement case that started a few months earlier. While the targeted IPTV service is relatively small, the ruling set a new precedent.

The timing wasn’t entirely coincidental either. The case against GoldTV was filed after a bid for an administrative pirate site blocking scheme from the same media companies failed.

While the GoldTV case followed the regular legal process, site blocking opponents fear that this is merely a test event and that requests to block many other sites will follow.

Thus far there are no concrete signs of new cases. However, the blocklist created by the GoldTV case has expanded. After the IPTV service switched to new domains to circumvent the order, the copyright holders went back to court, requesting an updated blocklist which was granted not much later.

Although this updated list may have worked for a while, new ‘circumvention’ domains were soon added. This prompted Rogers, Bell and TVA to return to court again a few days ago, requesting another extension.

These update requests were foreseen and are permitted under the injunction. However, there is considerable secrecy surrounding them.

This is in part due to the fact that ISPs have been asked not to publicize the details, TekSavvy explained to us. While the filing is technically public, the rightsholders want to keep the details quiet, presumably because they don’t want to make GoldTV any wiser. This is also what happened with the previous update request.

“We were again asked not to publicize it,” Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs, tells us. “As much as I do not like being in this position, we have decided not to publicize the list of domains for now.”

TorrentFreak also reached out to other sources, trying to get a copy of the court records, but thus far we have yet to get our hands on the documents. The filings can usually be picked up in person at the court but the coronavirus outbreak is complicating matters.

Although the lack of transparency is frustrating from a news perspective, we don’t expect to see anything unusual in the extension request. According to the Wire Report it contains six new domain names, but we haven’t been able to verify the figure.

TekSavvy, meanwhile, remains the only ISP to appeal the blocking order. While the company is complying with the recent injunction, it hopes to overturn the verdict in this separate proceeding.

This week the ISP submitted its memorandum of fact and law to the Federal Court of Appeal. This filing also references the ‘continual update’ process, noting that the court failed to consider that it would consume judicial resources.

A bigger problem, perhaps, will appear when more blocking injunctions are requested, targeting other pirate sites. These may all require updates during the years to come, TekSavvy warns, which will place a significant burden on the courts.

“Given that the Respondents describe a widespread problem with copyright infringement online, the Federal Court can expect many more such site-blocking motions. For each order, the Court will maintain a supervisory role for the duration of the order. Cumulatively, this will place a significant strain on judicial resources,” TekSavvy cautions.

The ISP’s motion reiterates many of the comments that were made when the appeal was announced, including potential net neutrality problems and a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

“The risks of over-blocking and compromising the integrity of the Internet are real, and are heightened in the absence of legislative guidance. As highlighted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this has serious implications for free expression,” the company adds.

On top of that, TekSavvy questions the effectiveness of the injunction, stressing that there is “strong evidence” that site blocking doesn’t work well as it’s easily circumvented. That alone would be enough to decline a blocking order, the ISP argues.

The appeal process is likely going to take a while, so, for now, the blocking injunction will stand. At the time of writing the federal court has yet to grant the most recent update request. When we learn more about that or the targeted domains, we will report accordingly.

A copy of TekSavvy’s memorandum of fact and law, filed at the Federal Court of Appeal, is ‘transparently’ made available here (pdf).

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

Movie Companies File Lawsuits in Canada Targeting 3,348 Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-companies-file-lawsuits-in-canada-targeting-3348-alleged-bittorrent-pirates-200211/

In the United States, several companies are actively filing large volumes of lawsuits against alleged movie pirates, many of whom are said to have downloaded pornographic material.

However, there is a growing trend of companies connected to mainstream movies aggressively enforcing their rights with a view to obtaining settlements against regular file-sharers, torrent site operators, and even app developers.

Two companies involved in this area are Rambo V Productions, Inc. (Rambo: Last Blood) and Fallen Productions, Inc. (Angel Has Fallen). While mostly active in the United States, two lawsuits filed in Canada’s Federal Court of Toronto in recent days show that their litigation and cash settlement program is beginning to spread.

Filed closely together on February 7, the two statements of claim are almost identical, differing only in respect of movie titles and IP addresses, plus dates and times when the infringing behavior allegedly took place. The Rambo V Productions claim targets 1,218 Doe Defendants, with Angel Has Fallen targeting 2,130.

In common with all related complaints, the claims detail how BitTorrent technology works and how individuals participate in concert with other users in order to download and share movies online, without obtaining permission from the copyright holders.

“Each Doe Defendant has unlawfully, and without the Plaintiff’s authorization or consent, utilized the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network to download and/or unlawfully offer to upload the Work thus infringing the Plaintiff’s copyright in the Work,” the claims read.

In similar cases filed in other jurisdictions, it is common for each defendant to be referenced by a single IP address alongside an alleged date and time of infringement. In these cases, however, all defendants have two dates and times of supposed infringement logged against them, which are spaced several days apart. The reason for this becomes apparent in the following paragraph.

“In accordance with the provisions of s. 41.25 and s. 41.26 of the Copyright Act each Defendant was notified of his or her Unlawful Acts by Notice,” the claims read.

This is a reference to the provisions (1,2) in Canadian law that allow copyright holders to send warning notices to alleged infringers via their service providers. According to the plaintiffs in both cases, each Doe Defendant was sent such a notice but failed to take remedial action.

“The First Notice informed each Defendant that they had been detected by forensic software as offering for upload the Work, and indicated that if the Work was taken down that there would be no action taken as against such Defendant. Each Defendant failed to respond, or refused to respond, to the First Notice and continued his or her Unlawful Acts,” they add.

When no action was taken in response to the first notice, the plaintiffs claim that their counsel sent a second notice to the Doe Defendants, informing them that the copyrighted work was still being made available and that legal action could follow.

“This Second Notice indicated that the work had not been removed and that legal action may be taken as against such Defendant. The Defendant failed or refused to respond to the Second Notice and has continued his or her Unlawful Acts,” the claims note.

While one person is usually named as the customer of an ISP (the person who pays the bill) it is common for other people in a particular household to have access to the same Internet connection via a router. This means that the bill payer may or indeed may not be the person (the Doe Defendant) who committed any of the alleged infringements.

The claims for both Rambo: Last Blood and Angel Has Fallen attempt to cover all bases by stating that even if the bill payer isn’t the direct infringer, he or she is ultimately responsible.

“In that case, the customer should have, and ought to have, the knowledge of who was using the customer’s internet account at the specifically identified date and time,” the claims add. But the responsibility doesn’t end there.

While acknowledging that some of the defendants may not be ‘direct infringers’, the plaintiffs state that through “negligence or wilful blindness” they “authorized others” to infringe after failing to exercise sufficient control over the use of their Internet connections when they knew that infringement was taking place.

“Each Defendant was provided with prior notice (the First Notice) that such Defendant’s internet account was being used in a way that infringed the Plaintiff’s copyright, and yet such Defendant did nothing to prevent or cease the infringement. Each Defendant therefore knew or should have known that their internet account was being used contrary to s. 27(1) and s.27(2) of the Copyright Act,” both claims add.

While the statements of claim state that defendants can be served in either Canada or the United States, both indicate that the listed IP addresses are believed to be located in Canada and that damages and injunctions will be sought as part of the action.

Excess Copyright‘s Howard Knopf believes that the plaintiffs will now attempt to obtain “Norwich Orders” to force the ISPs to hand over the identities of the individuals behind the listed IP addresses. At this stage it’s unclear whether any or all will fight back.

The claims filed by Rambo V Productions and Fallen Productions can be found here and here

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

.CA Domain Registry Objects to Pirate Site Blocking Order

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/ca-domain-registry-protests-pirate-site-blocking-order-200211/

Last November, Canada’s Federal Court approved the first pirate site blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

This is the first blocking order of its kind in Canada but could be the start of many. While most of the targeted ISPs stayed quiet and didn’t even acknowledge receipt of our questions, TekSavvy chose to appeal the blocking injunction.

The Internet provider is not the only organization that’s worried about the blocking order. Several others have raised concerns and some have now asked the Federal Court of Appeal if they can intervene in the case. This includes CIRA, the registry that operates the .CA domain name.

The registry, which also provides DNS services for .PT, .SE, and .ES domains, says it didn’t previously intervene because it wasn’t aware of the proceeding. It only learned about the blockades after these were reported in the media.

Among other things, CIRA is concerned that the website blocking injunction will interfere with the open Internet infrastructure. In addition, it will also bypass its authority by pointing Internet users to other locations when they try to access a .CA domain.

“Ordering ISPs to intercept and redirect internet communications could conflict with CIRA’s longstanding commitment to maintain an open and effective internet architecture,” CIRA writes.

“It could jeopardize CIRA’s mission to steward the .CA domain and to provide high quality registry, DNS, and cybersecurity services,” the registry adds.

Ideally, more stakeholders should have been consulted before making such a drastic decision, the registry notes. In CIRA’s view, site blocking is not the answer to address infringing sites. It directly conflicts with the Telecommunications Act while there are better alternatives.

One of the options suggested by CIRA is to identify the site owners through the WHOIS database. The organization says that it can provide such information when it’s compelled to do so by a Canadian court order.

Possible measures could also include involving other third-party intermediaries such as hosting companies and payment intermediaries.

“Any and all of those options are, while still extreme, more consistent with the Telecommunications Act and less intrusive into the technical architecture of the internet than the remedy sought from and granted by the Federal Court,” CIRA writes.

Based on these and other arguments, the registry asks the Federal Court of Appeal to grant its motion to intervene in the case.

Another organization that would like to be heard is the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). The group, which is connected to the University of Ottawa, also believes that the site-blocking order should be reversed.

“ISP-based website blocking is an intrusive remedy, incompatible with the right to free expression,” CIPPIC writes, adding that it also raises issues with the Copyright Act and the Telecommunications Act.

Such orders should not be taken lightly and deserve more scrutiny than the Federal Court has offered so far.

CIPPIC raises a variety of issues which it wants to argue in more detail. This also includes possible conflicts with net neutrality.

“ISP-based website blocking orders have a significant potential to disrupt communications networks and interfere with network innovation,” CIPPIC writes.

“Any ISP-based website blocking order must therefore ensure it does not undermine the CRTC’s role, legislatively mandated under section 36 of the Telecommunications Act, for monitoring net neutrality and ISP interference with transmitted content”

Both motions to intervene have yet to be reviewed by the Court and more may still be filed, also from rightsholders.

Given the interest of these parties, it’s clear that the matter has triggered much broader interest than during the initial proceeding.

A copy of CIRA’s motion to intervene is available here (pdf) and CIPPIC’s motion can be found here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Most Canadian ISPs Are Staying Quiet on Pirate Site Blocking

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/most-canadian-isps-are-staying-quiet-on-pirate-site-blocking-200119/

Last November, Canada’s Federal Court approved the first pirate site blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

These types of blocking efforts are common in quite a few countries. However, in Canada they are new, which means that developments are closely watched by both supporters and opponents.

One of these newer developments is the expansion of the blocklist with new domain names. After the initial injunction was ordered GoldTV became accessible through new addresses, effectively circumventing the court’s measures. This was dealt with by blocking the new domains as well.

This extension of the court’s order was permitted under the injunction and signed off by the court. This order is also public to those who pay to access it, which allows us to report on it.

However, as more and more blocks are issued this process may become harder to follow. It would be more transparent if ISPs published a list of blocked domains and IP-addresses. This would make it possible for the public to see what’s going on and report errors. If there are any.

This transparency idea isn’t too far-fetched. Canada’s current net neutrality regulations require ISPs to disclose what traffic management practices they use. Disclosing a list of blocked domain names and IP-addresses could fall into the same category.

As we were unable to find any ISP publicly listing this information on a page that’s available outside its network, we decided to ask them whether they had any plans to provide one.

In addition, we also asked what technical means the ISPs use to block domain names. Is it a simple DNS redirect, or are there more invasive techniques in use?

After waiting for several days, we still only have a response from one Internet provider. The ten remaining companies simply stayed quiet and didn’t even acknowledge receipt of our questions.

The company that did respond is TekSavvy, which also happens to be the only ISP that appealed the blocking injunction.

TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs, Andy Kaplan-Myrth, informs us that they already provide detailed information to blocked users. This includes links to all the blocked domains and the court order itself.

In the future, TekSavvy plans to make this available to outsiders as well. The ISP shared a copy of the info page (pdf) with us but it’s not linked from the ISP’s website yet.

The information shows that TekSavvy is using DNS blocking. It effectively changes the DNS entry so the domains point to the blocking notice instead of the regular page.

Kaplan-Myrth notes that this works but adds that the blockade can be circumvented when subscribers switch to alternative DNS providers such as Google, Cloudflare, or OpenDNS.

While we are pleased with TekSavvy’s openness, the lack of response from the other ISPs isn’t very encouraging when it comes to transparency. We contacted Bell, Rogers, SaskTel, Cogeco, Eastlink, Distribitel, Fido, Shaw, Telus, and Videotron, without hearing back.

Although more transparency is welcome, the Canadian system is quite open compared to some other countries. In the UK for example, none of the blocklist changes are publicized beyond the initial court orders. This means that it’s more or less a guess how many are blocked.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Jetflicks Piracy Trial Delayed After Canada Hands Over Masses of Discovery Data

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/jetflicks-piracy-trial-delayed-after-canada-hands-over-masses-of-discovery-data-200115/

In August 2019, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that eight men had been indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law by running “two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States.”

All of the defendants – Kristopher Lee Dallmann, Darryl Julius Polo, Douglas M. Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Edward Jaurequi, Peter H. Huber, Yoany Vaillant, and Luis Angel Villarino – were charged with running Jetflix, a subscription-based streaming service that reportedly carried more than 183,200 TV episodes.

Darryl Julius Polo, a former Jetflicks programmer, was additionally accused of launching and running iStreamitAll, a service carrying 18,479 TV episodes and 10,980 movies.

On December 12, 2019, Polo pleaded guilty to various copyright infringement and money laundering charges. The next day, former Jetflicks programmer Luis Angel Villarino pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

The remaining six defendants were set to go on trial during December 2019 but following acknowledgment by the court that the case is unusually complex, it was pushed back to February 2020. Due to fresh developments in the investigation, however, the trial will now be pushed back to the summer.

According to court documents filed by the US Government in December 2019, it was already in possession of a significant amount of discovery data (around 88 gigabytes) but following a March 2018 request under the US-Canada Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), law enforcement agencies in Canada had seized a great deal more.

It took around 21 months but on December 16, 2019, the data was finally handed over to the Department of Justice. The volume of evidence is reportedly “enormous” and includes reports from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, subscriber information documents, a list of tickets and messages pertaining to subscribers, plus five forensic images of computers located at OVH, a hosting provider in Canada.

Those five images are said to contain “well over” 2.3 million files which together total around 2.72 terabytes of data. The FBI reportedly took the evidence to the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section’s Cybercrime Lab in December 2019 which found information relating to Jetflicks, iStreamitAll and related services including SmackDownOnYou, Sincity Sports Cards, BlockBustersTV, Cardvision TV, and other entities and persons connected with the case.

An estimated 186,000 emails were also discovered, some with Excel and Word attachments. According to the US Government, the overall trove is so extensive it’s 30 times larger than the discovery provided to the defendants to date. So, given the scale of the task ahead, the US Government advised a Virginia court that all parties would be best served by a further trial delay.

“In our view, given that neither the government nor the defense has reviewed the data we just received from Canada, all parties would benefit from a continuance,” the filing reads.

“The government needs to understand the nature of this new evidence for purposes of our case, and we believe that defense counsel has an obligation to their clients to review this new evidence too.”

In closing, the Government requested that the trial be shifted to June 22, 2020. This delay was initially opposed by defendants Peter Huber and Yoany Vaillant but an agreement was later reached. As a result, in an order signed this week by District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, the trial was rescheduled for July 14, 2020.

The information provided by Canadian authorities may yet boost the US Government’s case against the Jetflicks defendants but its lawyers didn’t waste the opportunity to take a shot at Canada’s alleged poor conduct when it comes to dealing with pirate sites.

“The Court may wonder why Jetflicks and iStreamItAll — which were both based in the United States — used a hosting provider in Canada for their operations,” a footnote reads.

“According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which represents over 3,200 U.S. companies producing and distributing materials protected by copyright laws throughout the world, among those engaged in piracy, Canada has had a ‘long-standing reputation as a safe haven for some of the most massive and flagrant Internet sites dedicated to the online theft of copyright material’.”

While the same footnote also states that Canada “has made some progress” in recent years, it’s obvious that hosting Jetflicks in Canada didn’t save its operators from prosecution or from having their data seized and handed to US authorities.

The related court filings can be found here and here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Canadian Pirate Site Blockade Expands With New Domains

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-pirate-site-blockade-expands-with-new-domains-200109/

Last November Canada’s Federal Court approved the first piracy blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

A few days after the order was issued the first blockades were active. These prevented GoldTV customers from accessing the IPTV portal directly, as intended, but it didn’t take long before several alternative domains popped up.

These new domains are managed by GoldTV or its resellers and point to the access portal, allowing subscribers an unblocked route to access the IPTV service.

This wasn’t entirely unexpected. While IPTV blockades are relatively rare, we have seen similar ‘proxy’ workarounds in the past when traditional pirate sites were blocked in other counties. Having learned from this experience, the Canadian court order specifically allowed Bell and the other companies to expand the blocklist.

Specifically, they can amend the original blocklist with any “domain, subdomain or IP address that has as its sole or predominant purpose to enable or facilitate access to the Target Websites,” provided that the IP-address is “not associated with any other active domain.”

Such an update was requested early last month and two weeks later the Canadian Federal Court approved it. An overview of the new blocking requirements was published this week by Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs.

This shows that, after some IP-addresses and a domain name were previously removed, several new ones were added with the latest order.

The newly added addresses include gold.myiptvplanet.com, live4k.online, and several pctvhd.net and beex.me subdomains. When we checked these, all indeed redirected to the GoldTV access portal. According to reports we received, the new domains have been added to the blocklist of several Canadian ISPs, as expected.

Avvidavids reveal that the new domains were tracked down by posing as a customer or reseller of the GoldTV service.

Interestingly, the rightsholders asked to keep the names of the new domains secret until the order was granted. The Wire Report notes that they sent a letter (pdf) to the ISP asking them to “refrain from publicizing” the new domains until the Court made a decision.

Keeping possible updates out of the public eye is in the interest of the copyright holders, as it prevents GoldTV from anticipating new blocks. However, it raises concerns among some legal experts who believe that information in a public case should be out in the open. If not, that should be up to a court to decide.

That said, the Canadian procedure is much more transparent than in other countries such as the UK, where new blocklist updates aren’t published at all, making it impossible for the public to check for potential overblocking.

While the expanded blocks are certainly frustrating for GoldTV customers, there will likely be new domains to replace them, continuing the whack-a-mole. The downside for the copyright holders is that there’s a significant delay in the process.

Bell and the others first have to file for an amended order, which then has to be approved by the court. After that, it can take up to two weeks before ISPs implement the blockade. This whole process can take more than a month. In this timeframe, new domain names may have already been put into use.

While website blocks are far from perfect, the continued frustration of switching to new domains may be enough for some pirates to throw in the towel. Or they may switch to more permanent circumvention alternatives, such as VPNs.

Meanwhile, the bigger blocking battle continues as well. Internet provider TekSavvy has appealed the blocking order and hopes to have it overturned. It clearly violates network neutrality and undermines the open Internet, the ISP previously said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

European Commission Calls Out Canada’s Lacking Copyright Policy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/european-commission-calls-out-canadas-lacking-copyright-policy-200101/

The Canadian Government is no stranger to having its copyright policies critiqued.

The US Trade Representative, for example, has repeatedly placed its northern neighbor on a “watch list” because it fails to properly deter piracy.

While Canada has made several changes to its copyright regime in recent years, many rightsholders are not satisfied. Through political pressure from foreign governments, they hope to urge the country to address what they see as problematic issues.

This doesn’t only take place through the US Government – the European Commission is chiming in as well. Repeating many of the points that were previously highlighted by the USTR, the Commission summarized its main complaints in a report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in
third countries

“The Canadian IPR system still features certain shortcomings. Despite recent positive developments, a number of issues remain to be addressed, in particular in copyright and related rights as well as in enforcement,” the European Commission writes.

One of the highlighted problems is Canada’s fair dealing rules, which add educational use to the list of copyright infringement exceptions. According to the EU Commission, the language used in the law is too broad, damaging the rights of educational publishers.

“Broad exceptions in copyright law are applied in a way that appears to be detrimental to right holders. EU stakeholders are particularly concerned about the fair dealing exception for educational purposes and the exception for non-commercial user-generated content,” the Commission writes.

The same issue was previously pointed out by the US Government. That’s also true for the second problem, Canada’s lack of a takedown procedure to ensure that infringing content is removed by online service providers.

Canada previously implemented a “notice-and-notice” scheme. This only requires services to alert infringing parties, but it should ideally be complemented with a takedown requirement, the Commission notes.

“Stakeholders indicate that the ‘notice and notice’ regime for online copyright infringements, which came into effect in January 2015, still needs to be supplemented by a ‘notice and take down’ requirement, as well as by other measures to encourage all players to address online infringements in an effective way,” the Commission writes.

“There is currently no requirement for the internet service provider (ISP) or the user to take down infringing material and the only way to enforce a takedown is via the courts,” it adds.

The repeated use of the term “stakeholder” shows that the Commission heavily relies on input from copyright holders. While this is common, it may not be the most balanced approach.

Finally, the Commission also points out that many pirate websites are still hosted in Canada. This is a concern, it writes, as rightsholders are not able to request an injunction to have websites blocked by ISPs.

That last complaint is outdated, as Canada’s Federal Court recently issued the country’s first website blocking order. This is likely because copyright holders already submitted their complaints before that happened.

All in all the complaints are nothing new for Canada’s Government so whether they will make an impact has yet to be seen. The country previously wasn’t very impressed by “one-sided” foreign complaints on its copyright policies.

Canada is working on an update of its copyright law. Earlier this year, the Government’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology clearly rejected a non-judicial site-blocking regime, while it advised keeping the current safe harbor policy intact.

A copy of the European Commission’s Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

USMCA Trade Deal Keeps DMCA-Style ‘Safe Harbor’ for ISPs

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/usmca-trade-deal-keeps-dmca-style-safe-harbor-for-isps-191212/

More than a quarter-century after the United States, Canada, and Mexico approved the NAFTA trade agreement, the North American countries have now signed off on a new trade deal.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will accommodate changes in trade that the three countries have witnessed over the years, especially online.

The road to this final deal wasn’t without obstacles. After agreeing on the text a year ago, new demands and proposed changes were tabled, some of which were included in the Protocol of Amendments that was published this week.

The amendments don’t cover copyright issues, but the previously agreed text certainly does. For example, USMCA will require all countries to have a copyright term that continues for at least 70 years after the creator’s death.

For Canada, this means that the country’s current copyright term has to be extended by 20 years. This won’t happen instantly, as the country negotiated a transition period to consult the public on how to best meet this requirement. However, an extension seems inevitable in the long term.

Another controversial subject that was widely debated by experts and stakeholders is the DMCA-style ‘safe harbor’ text. In the US, ISPs are shielded from copyright infringement liability under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and the new deal would expand this security to Mexico and Canada.

This expansion was welcomed by many large technology companies including Internet providers and hosting platforms. However, many major entertainment industry companies and rightsholder groups were not pleased with the plans, as they have been calling for safe harbor restrictions for years.

US lawmakers also raised concerns. Just a few weeks ago the House Judiciary Committee urged the US Trade Representative not to include any safe harbor language in trade deals while the Copyright Office is reviewing the effectiveness of the DMCA law.

As the USMCA negotiations reached the final stage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in as well, trying to have safe harbor text removed from the new trade deal.

Despite this pushback, there is no mention of changes to the safe harbor section in the final amendments. This means that they will remain in the USMCA, much to the delight of major Internet companies.

That said, copyright liability protection also comes with obligations. The agreement specifies that ISPs should have legal incentives to work with ISPs to ensure that copyright infringements are properly dealt with.

This framework shall include “legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials,” the agreement reads.

The USMCA specifically mentions that ISPs must take down pirated content and implement a repeat infringer policy if they want to apply for safe harbor protection. This is largely modeled after the DMCA law.

The safe harbors for copyright infringement and the takedown requirements don’t apply to Canada as long as it continues to rely on its current notice-and-notice scheme. However, the country will enjoy safe harbors for other objectionable content, modeled after section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act.

While the three North American countries have reached an agreement, the text still has to be ratified into local law and policy. So it may take some time before it has any effect.

Commenting on the outcome, Canadian copyright professor Micheal Geist notes that the safe harbor for objectionable content is a win for freedom of expression. The additional 20-year copyright term is a setback, although the negative effects can be limited by requiring rightsholders to register for such an extension.

On the other side, rightsholders are also pleased, at least with parts of the new agreement.

“The USMCA’s provisions to strengthen copyright protections and enforcement will benefit the U.S. motion picture and television industry and support American jobs,” MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin says.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

IPTV Service Easily Circumvents First Canadian Piracy Blockade

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/iptv-service-easily-circumvents-first-canadian-piracy-blockade-191205/

Last month Canada’s Federal Court approved the first piracy blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

A few days after the order was issued the first blockades were active. These prevent GoldTV customers from accessing the IPTV portal directly, as intended. As we’ve seen in the past, however, not everyone affected is giving up that easily.

Faced with the blocking error, many users went looking for alternatives. Through various public forums, people asked for advice, which was never far away. At the same time, it appears that GoldTV’s operators also took action.

Instead of relying on the blocked domains, GoldTV is now accessible through a new portal, using a fresh domain name. Instead of the edge.tm URL, several resellers are now publicly directing users to the beex.me domain, which isn’t blocked, yet.

Whether that will last is doubtful, as rightsholders are also keeping a close eye on these changes. They previously added edge.tm to the complaint when GoldTV switched, and are likely to add the new domain to the blocklist as well.

The Federal Court order allows the rightsholders to request ISPs to update their blocklists. To do so, they have to file an affidavit. Internet providers then have ten business days to file any objections. If there are none, the Court may grant the requested update without any hearings.

This means that, in theory, this cat-and-mouse game can continue for months. This is similar to what we have seen with site blocking efforts in other countries. However, there are other workarounds being discussed as well.

IPTV Global Server, which describes itself as a GoldTV reseller, has created a detailed circumvention guide for customers. Aside from updating the URL, the company points out that switching to a VPN is a more permanent solution.

“As evident in the court case itself, bypassing this block is not difficult, and simply requires you to use a VPN when accessing Gold (Global) services. Alternatively the host can change the portal URL at anytime to bypass the block,” Global writes.

The reseller links to two VPN services which it has “partnered” with and provides affiliate links, which help the company to bring in some extra revenue as well.

While Global’s guide is useful to blocked GoldTV users, the company’s decision to create a URL that directly links to the latest access portal could potentially result in its own domain name being blocked as well.

The court order allows any (sub)domain to be added to the blocklists, as long as its sole or predominant use is to facilitate access to GoldTV’s services. While a generic VPN wouldn’t immediately fit that category, a dedicated ‘circumvention’ guide likely would.

At the time of writing it’s unclear whether any of the rightsholders have already submitted proposed additions to the blocklist.

What is clear, however, is that the blocking case is far from over. Last week, Internet provider TekSavvy filed an appeal. Among other things, the company argued that the Court’s order undermines the open Internet to “protect the profits and business models of a handful of powerful media conglomerates.”

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

TekSavvy Appeals First Canadian Pirate Site Blockade

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/teksavvy-appeals-first-canadian-pirate-site-blockade-191126/

Two weeks ago Canada’s Federal Court approved the first pirate site blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

While the service in question has a relatively modest number of users, the order paves the way for additional site blocking requests that may target traditional pirate sites as well.

This is exactly what major rightsholders have extensively lobbied for in the past. After a request for a national pirate site blocking scheme was denied last year, the media companies have now accomplished this goal through the courts.

Most Internet providers, which include Bell and Rogers as well, haven’t objected to the request. However, there’s one that’s pushing back. According to TekSavvy, site blocking will do more harm than good and the company filed an official appeal yesterday.

“We are very concerned about what the federal court’s new site-blocking regime means for the open Internet as a whole,” says Andy Kaplan-Myrth TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs.

TekSavvy argues that the Federal Court reached the wrong conclusion and asked for the order to be set aside. One of the problems, according to the ISP, is that the Court heavily relied on a UK ruling, instead of merely following Canadian law.

The ISP further highlights that it runs counter to Canada’s Net Neutrality principles.

“[The order] is based on foreign law, and it clearly violates Network Neutrality, without giving any serious consideration to that fundamental principle of communications law in Canada,” Kaplan-Myrth tells TorrentFreak.

“If it is allowed to stand, this site-blocking order will be just the first of many, undermining the open Internet to protect the profits and business models of a handful of powerful media conglomerates,” he adds.

TekSavvy is the only ISP to file an appeal but, outside court, there has been strong opposition from others. Canadian law professor Michael Geist, for example, has criticized the ruling, arguing that the Government should weigh in on such a crucial matter.

“In reviewing the GoldTV ruling, it is obvious that site blocking raises so many issues that it requires a government policy decision, not a single judge making a myriad of policy calls,” Geist noted.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court’s order has already resulted in the first blocks. Several people are reporting that their ISPs have started to roll out the restrictions already. This includes Rogers, Fido, Bell Aliant, and SaskTel.

It’s clear that rightsholders are pleased with the blocking ruling, so they are expected to fiercely defend it at the Federal Court of Appeal. Given the controversy around the site-blocking topic, it would be no surprise if other interested parties will have their say in court as well.

 —

A copy of TekSavvy’s Notice of Appeal, filed at the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Federal Court Approves First ‘Pirate’ Site Blockade in Canada

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/federal-court-approves-first-pirate-site-blockade-in-canada-191118/

Last year, a coalition of copyright holders and major players in the telco industry asked the Canadian Government to institute a national pirate site blocking scheme.

The Fairplay coalition argued that such measures would be required to effectively curb online piracy. Canada’s telco regulator CRTC reviewed the request but eventually denied the application, noting that it lacks jurisdiction.

The driving forces behind the request, Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA, were not prepared to let the blocking idea slip away, however. A few months ago the companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service GoldTV.ca. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.

This resulted in a follow-up request from the media giants, which became the setup for the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies requested an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.

Late last week this request was granted by a Federal Court in Ontario. An order, issued by Judge Patrick Gleeson, requires most of Canada’s largest ISPs, including Cogeco, Rogers, Bell, Eastlink and, TekSavvy, to start blocking their customers’ access to GoldTV within 15 days.

The order is unique in North America and relies heavily on UK jurisprudence, can be extended with new IP-addresses and domain names, if those provide access to the same IPTV service. The court doesn’t prescribe a specific blocking method but mentions DNS and IP-address blocking as options.

Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, these companies didn’t object to their own demands. Several other Internet providers didn’t protest either. However, TekSavvy did, listing a broad range of objections.

TekSavvy, for example, argued that blocking websites isn’t very effective, as subscribers have plenty of workarounds they can try, including VPNs. In addition, the company pointed out that many smaller ISPs are not affected by the order, which means that they don’t have to block the service.

Judge Gleeson recognized that blocking measures are not foolproof. However, based on the evidence provided, he concluded that it’s effective enough to make a difference.

“It’s clear from the evidence that site-blocking will not eliminate user access to infringing services. However, the evidence does establish that in those jurisdictions where site-blocking measures have been implemented there has been a significant reduction in visits to infringing websites.

“I am satisfied that a site-blocking order is an effective means of limiting access to GoldTV Services,” Judge Gleeson added.

TekSavvy further argued that it could become very costly to implement a site-blocking system, which would put a significant financial strain on the company. In addition, the order would set a precedent that could lead to hundreds or even thousands of site-blocking orders

Judge Gleeson didn’t agree with this assessment. TekSaffy can rely on DNS and IP-address blocking, which it’s already technically capable of. That wouldn’t require any new hardware investments. In addition, ISPs don’t have to pay the costs of the implementation, as that will be covered by the rightsholders.

TekSavvy also pointed out that site-blocking measures violate net neutrality and freedom of expression. But again, the Court was not convinced that this weighs stronger than the interests of the rightsholders.

“I am satisfied, in the face of a strong prima facie case of ongoing infringement and a draft order that seeks to limit blocking to unlawful sites and incorporates processes to address inadvertent over-blocking, that neither net neutrality nor freedom of expression concerns tip the balance against granting the relief sought,” Judge Gleeson writes.

All in all, the Federal Court sided with the copyright holders. This means that the first-ever pirate site blockade in Canada will soon be in effect. Whether TekSavvy or any of the other ISPs plan to appeal the decision is not known at this point.

The site-blocking question has been a point of debate in Canada over the past several months. While local authorities and lawmakers have spoken out against a non-judicial site-blocking regime, Judge Gleeson’s ruling shows that site-blocking injunctions certainly are an option.

Interestingly, this approach was previously raised by opponents of Fairplay Coalition’s site blocking push. At the time, the rightsholders countered that the legal process could take up to 765 days, but in this case, it went a lot quicker.

A copy of Judge Gleeson’s order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Canadian Court Rejects Reverse Class Action Against BitTorrent Pirates

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-court-rejects-reverse-class-action-against-bittorrent-pirates-191114/

Movie studio Voltage Pictures is no stranger to suing BitTorrent users.

The company and its subsidiaries have filed numerous lawsuits against alleged pirates in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, and likely made a lot of money doing so.

Voltage and other copyright holders who initiate these cases generally rely on IP addresses as evidence. With this information in hand, they ask the courts to order Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holders, so the alleged pirates can be pursued for settlements.

In Canada, Voltage tried to get these personal details from a large group of copyright infringers by filing a reverse class-action lawsuit, which is relatively rare. The movie company argued that this is a cheaper way to target large numbers of infringers at once.

The lawsuit in question was initially filed in 2016 and dragged on for years. The case revolves around a representative defendant, Robert Salna, who provides WiFi services to tenants. Through Salna, Voltage hoped to catch a group of infringers.

As the case went on the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) took interest in the case. The group, which is connected to the University of Ottawa, eventually intervened to represent anonymous defendants.

Among other things, CIPPIC argued that the movie company failed to identify an actual infringer. It targets multiple ‘infringing’ IP-addresses, which are not unique and can be used by multiple persons at once. In addition, unprotected WiFi networks may be open to the public at large.

Since the IP-addresses are not necessarily the infringers, Voltage has no reasonable cause to file the reverse class action, CIPPIC’s submission argued.

This week the Federal Court of Canada ruled on the matter and Justice Boswell agreed with CIPPIC.

“I agree with CIPPIC’s submissions that Voltage’s pleadings do not disclose a reasonable cause of action with respect to primary infringement.  While Voltage alleges that its forensic software identified a direct infringement in [sic] Voltage’s films, Voltage has failed to identify a Direct Infringer in its amended notice of application,” he writes.

Judge Boswell also agreed with CIPPIC’s critique of the class action procedure. These piracy cases deal with multiple infringers which will all have different circumstances. Reverse class action lawsuits are less suited to this scenario.

“A class proceeding is not a preferable procedure for the just and efficient resolution of any common issues which may exist.  The proposed proceeding would require multiple individual fact-findings for each class member on almost every issue.” 

The Judge further notes that there are other preferable means for Voltage to pursue its claims. These include joinder and consolidation of individual claims.

Based on these and other conclusions, Judge Boswell dismissed Voltage’s motion to certify the case as a reverse class action. In addition, the movie company was ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding, which could run to tens of thousands of dollars.

This is an important ruling as it takes a clear stand against the reverse class action strategy for this type of piracy case. And it may even go further than that. According to law professor Michael Geist, it can impact future file-sharing cases as well. 

“I think the decision does have implications that extend beyond this specific class action strategy as it calls into doubt the direct link between IP address and infringement and raises questions about whether merely using BitTorrent rises to the level of secondary infringement,” Geist tells TorrentFreak.

CIPPIC’s director David Fewer is also happy with the outcome. He tells the Globe and Mail that if the motion was accepted, it could have “seriously expanded the threat of copyright liability to anyone allowing others to use an internet connection.”

While the ruling is a clear dismissal of the reverse class action approach, there are similar file-sharing cases in Canada that have proven to be more effective. As long as this practice remains profitable, it will probably not go away.

A copy of Judge Boswell’s order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

TekSavvy Protests Push for Pirate Site Blocking in Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/teksavvy-protests-push-for-pirate-site-blocking-in-court-190916/

Pirate site blockades are gradually spreading across the globe. Thus far, Canada hasn’t joined the movement but that’s something Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA hope to change.

In June, the three companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted last month, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.

This resulted in a new request from the media giants, which could potentially lead to the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies are calling for an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.

The request was discussed in Federal Court last Thursday and Friday. Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, the companies are also listed as respondents. Obviously, they didn’t object to their own demands. Similarly, there are no objections from Shaw, Eastlink, Fido, SaskTel, Telus, and Videotron either.

With input from some of the Internet providers, the rightsholders drafted a blocking order that they hope to have approved by the Federal Court. It lists several domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service and allows for more to be added.

Domains and IP-addresses to be blocked

The blocking technology that’s described in the order is fairly straightforward. Domain names would have to be targeted through DNS blocking or re-routing, and non-shared IP-addresses would have to be blocked or re-routed as well. All ISPs would be permitted to establish their preferred methods, as long as they are effective.

Thus far there hasn’t been much opposition from ISPs. The only company that substantially objects to the proposed site-blocking scheme is TekSavvy.

In written comments to the Court, the ISP points out that the request comes at a curious time as Canadian lawmakers are reviewing the appropriateness of such measures, as part of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review. Issuing a precedential injunction before this review is complete would be inappropriate, TekSavvy argues.

Aside from leap-frogging the ongoing legislative process, the ISP also points out that the site-blocking measures violate net neutrality.

“The plaintiffs seek this Court’s assistance to implement a draconian remedy that runs directly counter to the legislatively established principle of net neutrality,” TekSavvy notes in its written comments.

The ISP doesn’t believe that the blocking measures will be very effective either. There are plenty of workarounds available, for example. The company further notes that it’s unclear whether GoldTV causes any harm and adds that the rightsholders have plenty of other options to go after the service.

For example, they could target the sites through less invasive measures. By contacting its payment provider or hosting company, for example, or going after the Canadian domain name registry.

“[The plaintiffs] ask this Court to deputize TekSavvy and other ISPs to protect the plaintiffs’ profits against some hypothetical (and unknowable) erosion from GoldTV’s services, yet they have not taken some of the most basic self-help steps open to them,” TekSavvy notes.

Overall, the ISP sees website blocking as a draconian measure. While it seems fairly small and directed at a small service that’s no longer widely available, Teksavvy fears that granting the order will open the floodgates to much broader blocking requests.

“If the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a site-blocking order in this case, there is no question that they would use it as a precedent to obtain other site-blocking orders, whether in respect of copyright infringement or otherwise.”

“TekSavvy could be faced with hundreds and even thousands of websites to block and monitor, exponentially increasing the costs of operating and maintaining a site-blocking system and overwhelming TekSavvy’s capacity,” the company adds.

As such, Teksavvy asks the Federal Court to dismiss the motion. It’s the only third-party company that has done so. Fellow ISP Distributel also objected to the proposed language in the motion, but its complaint only deals with how ISPs are compensated for their efforts.

The Wire Report notes that the Federal Court gave all parties until Wednesday to come to an agreement on the language of the proposed order. It’s clear, however, that TekSavvy is not coming aboard.

After the hearings, the Federal Court will eventually have to decide whether to grant the blocking order or not. That’s expected to take a few more weeks.

A copy of the proposed blocking order, which may be changed going forward, is available here (pdf). TekSavvy’s written responses are available here (pdf) and a copy of the affidavit of Paul Stewart, TekSavvy’s VP of Technology, can be found here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Vader Streams Was Shut Down By ACE, Must Pay $10m Damages

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/vader-streams-was-shut-down-by-ace-must-pay-10m-damages-190821/

There are several large IPTV providers with brands that are well known across the unlicensed industry. One of those was Vader, otherwise known as Vader Streams, or just Vaders.

Notable for its Darth Vader logo, the platform served large numbers of direct customers and subscription re-sellers with at least 1,300 TV channels and a library of VOD content running close to 3,000 titles.

This May, however, something went seriously wrong.

“We have no choice but to close down Vader. We can’t reveal much publically, but by now some of you should know through the other means what happened,” a notice posted to the site’s Telegram channel read.

“We tried everything in our power to avoid this, to avoid any outage, but enough people worked against us.”

With that, Vader went down, never to appear again. As highlighted in our subsequent review of the Vader closure, we had strong suspicions that anti-piracy giant the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) had become involved.

We’d obtained an unverified copy of what looked like a cease-and-desist notice, apparently sent by ACE members to Vader, over its VOD content. Unable to confirm its authenticity, we made a decision not to publish it.

However, it’s now 100% clear that ACE, the global anti-piracy company made up of dozens of powerful content companies, did indeed shutter Vader. And it’s now evident why they refused to comment.

ACE proceeded against Vader through a secret court proceeding in Canada through which it obtained a so-called “Anton Piller” order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with. A similar process was used against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman in 2017.

While the case against Lackman is moving forward at glacial speed more than two years later, the Vader matter now appears to be over. After obtaining a permanent injunction from the Federal Court in Canada, ACE has shuttered the service and landed Vader with a bill for $10 million in damages.

According to ACE, Vader must also “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, permanently cease-and-desist from doing anything in future connected to offering, selling, or promoting unlicensed streams, and/or developing, updating, hosting or promoting any Kodi add-ons connected to pirated content.

“On behalf of all ACE members, I applaud the Court’s decision to permanently put an end to piracy operations conducted by Vader Streams,” Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement.

“Actions like these can help reduce piracy and promote a dynamic, legal marketplace for creative content that provides audiences with more choices than ever before, while supporting millions of jobs in the film and television industry.”

Robert Malcolmson, Senior Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Bell Canada – a prominent ACE member – described the action by the Federal Court as “strong and appropriate”, adding that “illegal streaming services like Vader Streams cause serious harm to creators and distributors, the entire broadcasting and cultural sectors and ultimately Canadian consumers.”

While ACE says that Vader must “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, it remains unclear what that means in real terms.

At the time of the shutdown, Vader said that it was “going to make sure, no Email, IP, account + reseller name goes to the wrong hands. Everything will be wiped clean and that’s all.”

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Bell and Rogers to Request ‘Pirate’ Site Blocking Order in Canada

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bell-and-rogers-to-request-pirate-site-blocking-order-in-canada-190812/

Last year, a coalition of copyright holders and major players in the telco industry asked the Canadian Government to institute a national pirate site blocking scheme.

The Fairplay coalition argued that such measures would be required to effectively curb online piracy. Canada’s telco regulator CRTC reviewed the request but eventually denied the application, noting that it lacks jurisdiction.

While the denial came as a setback, the main players pushing for site blocking are not letting the matter go easily. Bell and Rogers, two of the main proponents of the mechanism, later tried to get a blocking regime instituted through the planned revision of the Copyright Act.

Thus far there are no signs that they’re getting what they want, but there is another path to site-blocking that the two companies, together with Groupe TVA, are about to explore.

Last month we reported on a lawsuit the three companies filed against the operators of ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

“The GoldTV.biz Service provides unauthorized access to hundreds (if not thousands) of live television channels and video-on-demand content,” the complaint filed at the Federal Court reads.

Among other things, the companies requested an interim injunction to stop the operator(s), who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This request was reviewed by the Federal Court in Ontario, which granted it late last week.

According to Justice Catherine Kane, the telecom companies would suffer “irreparable harm” if the two GoldTV sites were to continue.

The interim order will remain in place until a final determination of the claims is made. Among other things, the operator(s) are forbidden from operating, maintaining, promoting, or selling any infringing services, including GoldTV.

While the copyright holders are likely to be happy with this preliminary ruling, the follow-up step may prove to be even more interesting. According to The Wire, the copyright holders will move for a website blocking order next month.

This order, which they plan to formally request in September, will request various ISPs including Bell Media, Eastlink, Cogeco Inc., Rogers’ Fido, Shaw Communications Inc., TekSavvy Solutions Inc., Telus Corp., and Videotron to block the GoldTV sites.

To our knowledge, this will be the first time that these companies have requested a pirate site blocking order in Canada. Interestingly, several of the ISPs that are targeted are connected to the copyright holders. As such, it is unlikely that there will be any protests from their side.

However, other ISPs, such as Techsavvy, may object to the requested order, if it’s formally submitted. This could then turn into a test case for court-ordered pirate site blockades in Canada.

The question remains, however, if the rightsholders will push through with their request. While GoldTV.ca was still operational yesterday, the site has now become unreachable. The same is true for GoldTV.biz, which doesn’t load either. That said, both sites could of course reappear.

It is clear, however, that after requests to get a blocking regime instated through the CRTC, Bell, Rogers, and others are now considering filing a blocking order through the court. And if they are successful, more will likely follow.

A two-day hearing on the GoldTV case is currently scheduled for September 11/12, and we will likely hear more after that.

A copy of the interim injunction that was issued by the Federal Court last week is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Canadian Copyright Review Rejects Site-Blocking Regime, Keeps Safe Harbors

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-copyright-review-rejects-site-blocking-regime-keeps-safe-harbors-190603/

Late 2017 Canada’s government requested the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) to carry out a thorough review of the Copyright Act.

After dozens of hearings, where it heard hundreds of witnesses and reviewed input from various stakeholders, the final review is now ready and published in public.

In a detailed report spanning 182 pages, the Committee issues 36 recommendations, covering a wide range of copyright issues. Interestingly, the first suggestion from the Committee is to remove the mandatory five-year review, which it just completed.

Through various hearings and briefs, many rightsholders stressed that stronger copyright protections are required to deal with online piracy. This includes regular pirate sites but covers also copyright-infringing material uploaded to sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Several stakeholders, including the Motion Picture Association-Canada, argued that ‘content filters’ would be appropriate. This is comparable to the requirement put forward in Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive, which may result in ‘upload filters.’ 

Related proposals suggested narrowing the ‘safe harbor’ for online service providers (OSPs). This includes changes to sections 31.1 and 41.27 of the Copyright Act, including abolishing these altogether.

While the Committee acknowledged the “value gap” problem for rightsholders, it stresses that the rights of Internet users should be taken into account as well.

“[P]roposed amendments to sections 31.1 and 41.27 of the Act would be too blunt a solution to address the issue, especially since there is no consensus among stakeholders about which OSPs cause problems and why. Subjecting OSPs to increased regulations should also reflect a balanced approach,” the report reads.

The Committee finds it questionable, for example, that online services would be required to take down or de-monetize content, without allowing the uploader to respond to allegations of copyright infringement. That appears to refer, indirectly, to the EU’s Article 17. 

Instead of making any concrete suggestions, the Committee recommends keeping an eye on how the EU deals with this issue, and draw lessons from this approach. Ultimately, however, any changes should be in the best interests of all Canadians, which is summarized in two recommendations.

“Recommendation 21: That the Government of Canada monitor the implementation, in other jurisdictions, of extended collective licensing as well as legislation making safe harbour exceptions available to online service providers conditional to measures taken against copyright infringement on their platforms.”

“Recommendation 22 That the Government of Canada assert that the content management systems employed by online service providers subject to safe harbour exceptions must reflect the rights of rights-holders and users alike.”

Moving onto enforcement against traditional pirate sites, the Committee reviewed input from various stakeholders who suggested the introduction of a site-blocking regime. 

“The fight against piracy should focus more on large-scale, commercial infringers, and less on individual Canadians who may or may not understand that they are engaged in infringement,” the Committee notes, adding that it sees value in pirate site blocking. 

To this end, the Telecommunications Act could be revised to streamline the blocking process. However, creating a separate regime that would bypass the courts, as several rightsholders have suggested, goes too far.

“It is for the courts to adjudicate whether a given use constitutes copyright infringement and to issue orders in consequence. The courts already have the expertise necessary to protect the interests of all involved parties,” the Committee writes. 

Among other things, a separate regime without oversight would increase the risk of overreach, which could lead to net neutrality violations. The Committee, therefore, suggests that any changes that would simplify site-blocking should keep net neutrality in mind.

“Recommendation 27: Following the review of the Telecommunications Act, that the Government of Canada consider evaluating tools to provide injunctive relief in a court of law for deliberate online copyright infringement and that paramount importance be given to net neutrality in dealing with impacts on the form and function of Internet in the application of copyright law.”

That’s a major disappointment to the Fairplay Coalition, which came up with the site-blocking regime. However, rightsholders did succeed in convincing the Committee that higher statutory damages are needed to deter infringement.

Another piracy-related issue that came up relates to the notice-and-notice scheme. This allows rightsholders to send infringement notices to ISPs, which must be forwarded to subscribers. 

ISPs complained that this is very resource intensive, as there is no standard notice format. That also opens the door to abuse, where rightsholders demand settlements from subscribers, even though that’s outlawed. The Committee agrees and recommends standardization of the notices. 

“Recommendation 25: That the Government of Canada make regulations to require notices sent under the notice-and-notice regime be in a prescribed machine-readable format.”

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) was also heard by the Committee.  The organization wants ISPs and other large companies to maintain a Whois database of IPv6 IP-addresses and numbers. This would help to track down copyright infringers.

Such a database is already in place for IPv4 numbers but the Committee recommends expanding this so it covers IPv6 resources as well.

“Recommendation 26: That the Government of Canada examine ways to keep IPv6 address ownership information up-to-date in a publicly accessible format similar in form and function to American Registry for Internet Numbers’ IPv4 ‘WHOIS’ service.”

The last issue we highlight is a proposed limitation to fair dealing for educational use. Several publishers requested this noting that they’re losing revenue, but the Committee believes that a further review is needed before it can make any concrete recommendations.

At the same time, the Committee proposes to expand current fair dealing rights by making the examples which are listed in the Copyright Act illustrative, instead of exhaustive. This would make it easier to classify new types of creative expressions as fair dealing.

All-in-all the review of the Copyright Act provides a mixed bag for all involved. While the recommendations are clear, it is still up to the Canadian government to act on them. 

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who has followed the developments closely, describes the report as balanced. However, we expect that many rightsholders had hoped for more. 

The Committee makes it clear, however, that their conclusions represent a compromise. Not everyone will agree, but it’s what they have to work with going forward.

“Reviewing the Act is not about deciding who is right between stakeholders, but about capturing as many perspectives as possible to ensure that, on the whole, the resulting recommendations reflect the reality of living together,” the Committee writes.

“This report’s success lies in making stakeholders feel compelled to respond to it with passion, integrity, and rigour –whether or not they agree with its content,” it adds.

A copy of the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Bell Wants Canada to Criminalize Pirate Streaming Services

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bell-wants-canada-to-criminalize-pirate-streaming-services-190530/

To ensure that the Internet is able to function to the benefit of the broader public, the Government of Canada appointed an external panel to review Canada’s communications legislative framework. 

The panel is expected to release its findings next month, which will in part be based on input received from public submissions earlier this year. 

Thus far, most submissions have surprisingly been kept from public view. However, University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist filed an Access to Information Act request and will publish the responses he receives. The first one comes from Canadian telco Bell and stretches to 167 pages.

Bell’s submission deals with a wide variety of topics ranging from online video regulations to online privacy requirements. For the purposes of this article, however, we focus on the company’s suggestions when it comes to piracy and copyright infringement.

One of the Government’s prime policy priorities, according to Bell, should be to combat content piracy.  

“Canadian creators, the Canadian broadcasting system, and the Canadian
telecommunications system do not have effective tools to protect the content that is central to the creative and digital economy against the rampant growth of digital piracy,” Bell writes.

The submission goes on to cite various piracy studies that support this claim. It reports, for example, that 26% of all Canadians admit to having accessed pirated content online. In addition, it mentions that 15.3% of all Canadian households use set-top-boxes with piracy add-ons or access piracy subscription services. 

According to Bell, now is the time to address the online piracy issue and it provides two concrete proposals. The first one is aimed at tackling pirate online streaming services, including the previously mentioned streaming sites and set-top boxes. 

Bell equates this relatively new type of piracy to the boom in black market satellite piracy roughly three decades ago. At the time, lawmakers responded by updating the Radiocommunication Act to criminalize the decoding of encrypted signals and the possession and sale of devices intended for that purpose.

“This stimulated law enforcement activity in the area of satellite piracy, which contributed to the investigation and shutting down of piracy operations and also had a significant deterrent effect,” Bell notes.

The telco stresses that a similar response is now required to deal with the online streaming epidemic. Most pirate streaming services no longer rely on encryption but are based on rebroadcasting content over the Internet instead. 

This type of streaming activity should be criminalized in the Broadcasting Act, Bell recommends. Not just the services and sites that do the ‘broadcasting,’ but also people who advertise or sell related products.  

“Accordingly, we recommend that a provision be added to the Broadcasting Act making it a criminal offense for anyone subject to an exemption from the requirement to hold a license to knowingly operate, advertise, supply, or sell or offer to sell access to a distribution undertaking that retransmits broadcasting without lawful authorization from a programming undertaking.”

Criminalize

“Such an approach would concentrate criminal liability on commercially-motivated operators engaged in organized crime and would stimulate additional law enforcement activity to address this pressing threat,” Bell adds.

This measure doesn’t appear to be aimed at end-users but will certainly affect pirate streaming sites, vendors of pirate set-top boxes, as well as those who promote them.

The second anti-piracy proposal put forward by Bell is to make it possible for ISPs to block pirate sites more easily. This is the same plan proposed by Fairplay Canada Coalition last year, but with a twist. 

“By far the most important tool that modernized legislation should adopt is the ability for an independent authority to grant orders requiring all Internet service providers (ISPs) to disable access to sites that are blatantly, structurally, or overwhelmingly engaged in piracy,” Bell writes.

This Fairplay blocking proposal was denied by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last fall, which noted that it lacks jurisdiction. According to Bell, this is something the Government could change through an update of the Telecommunications Act.

Specifically, it wants the Government to amend current legislation to authorize the CRTC to approve and require Internet providers to disable access to sites that are blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy. 

That blocking is not a perfect solution, shouldn’t matter. Even a partial reduction in traffic to pirate sites, as has happened in other countries, should already be rather effective, Bell argues.

“A policy that reduces the total level of piracy by up to 40% from the level that would otherwise have prevailed, and that substantially increases the legal consumption of content, can only be considered incredibly effective. The fact that it does not eliminate 100% of piracy is not a justification for inaction,” the telco writes.

Website blocking also finds support in a separate submission from Shaw Communications, another major Canadian telco.  Similar to Bell, Shaw believes that an update to the Copyright Act is required to achieve that. The company, however, rejects a proposal to tax ISP subscriptions to support copyright holders.

By criminalizing pirate streaming services and blocking pirate sites, Bell hopes to make a significant dent in Canada’s piracy rates. Whether the government’s expert panel will adopt these recommendations has yet to be seen. 

Many copyright holders are likely to side with Bell,  but there is plenty of opposition as well. Michael Geist, for example, characterizes Bell’s submission as “self-serving in the extreme,” noting that it poses shocking risks to many stakeholders in Canada’s communication industry.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Canadian Parliamentary Report Proposes Tough Copyright Measures

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-parliamentary-report-proposes-tough-copyright-measures-190516/

The Canadian Government is currently exploring if and how the current Copyright Act should be amended to better fit the present landscape.

To this end, Canada’s Heritage Committee organized several hearings on remuneration models for artists, where it received input from various stakeholders.

The outcome provides input for the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s broader review, which will determine the future course for Canada’s copyright policy.  The Heritage Committee hopes that its findings will be included. 

The report, titled “Shifting Paradigms,” leads to a set of 22 recommendations. These cover a variety of issues ranging from addressing the value gap and holding ISPs accountable, through limiting fair dealing, to extending the copyright term.

These themes are in large part meant to further support creators and copyright holders. Much like the EU’s copyright reform, there is a lot of emphasis on the so-called value gap, i.e the notion that artists don’t currently receive fair compensation for their work.

This is also reflected in the report. For example, the payouts at streaming services such as Spotify are often seen as too low. Similarly, services such as YouTube can distribute music and profit from it, while only paying a small fee to copyright holders.

“The inability of policy to evolve with technology has prevented artists from receiving fair market value for their work. According to witnesses, these outdated rules have diverted wealth from creators to large digital intermediaries on which artistic content is consumed,” the committee writes. 

There are also rightsholders who have highlighted the possible aspects of technology on their industries. Content creators have many new distribution platforms, for example, which can bring in extra revenue. However, it’s clear that creators can use some guidance, which results in the first recommendation.

Recommendation 1: That the Government of Canada increase its support for creators and creative industries in adapting to new digital markets.

Online piracy in general is another major theme. Torrent sites and streaming sites remain a significant problem which is hard to address, for example. In addition, ISPs currently have little incentive to help combat piracy. 

One issue that the Government will look into is whether safe harbor exceptions for ISPs should change, to make these companies accountable for pirating users under certain circumstances. 

Recommendation 5: That the Government of Canada review the safe harbor exceptions and laws to ensure that Internet service providers are accountable for their role in the distribution of content.

More generally, the report also suggests that Canada should do more to tackle online piracy overall. One of the options, as suggested during the consultation, is to criminalize online streaming.

Recommendation 6: That the Government of Canada increase its efforts to combat piracy and enforce copyright.

Not dumb pipes

The recommendations are mostly meant to strengthen the position of rightsholders. This also includes an extension of the copyright term from 50 to 70 years after the creator’s death. This follows requests from several copyright groups and is in line with the new trade agreement with the US and Mexico.

According to the committee, no witnesses expressed outright opposition to extending of the copyright term, which leads to the following recommendation.

Recommendation 7: That the Government of Canada pursue its commitment to implement the extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death.

Large copyright intermediaries are also presented with a setback, which appears to have been largely initiated by Canadian singer Bryan Adams. During a hearing last year, Adams suggested changing the text of the Copyright Act to made it easier for artists to regain their copyrights.

At the moment, Canadian copyright reverts to a creator’s heirs 25 years after “death.” By changing the word “death” to “assignment”, creators will be able to terminate a copyright assignment while they’re still alive. 

This is helpful to artists who sign away their rights to labels early in their career, which they may regret later. The Heritage Committee sides with Adams and includes the following recommendation.

Recommendation 14: That the Government of Canada amend subsection 14(1) of the Copyright Act so that it reads “from 25 years after assignment.

Following more music- and movie-related recommendations, many of which deal with licensing and remuneration, the committee shifts its focus to the publishing industry. 

Specifically, it addresses a commonly heard complaint from publishers that Canada’s fair dealing exemptions are too broad. Currently, schools are allowed to copy texts for educational use, but this should change, the committee argues.

Recommendation 18: That Government of Canada amend the Act to clarify that fair dealing should not apply to educational institutions when the work is commercially available.

All in all its clear that the recommendations made in the report are favorable to copyright holders, who will welcome it with open arms. However, not everyone is positive.

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who has followed the developments closely, describes the report as the most one-sided Canadian copyright report issued in the past 15 years.

“Representing little more than stenography of lobbying positions from Canadian cultural groups, the report simply adopts as recommendations a wide range of contentious proposals: copyright term extension, restricted fair dealing, increased damages, as well as several new rights and payments,” Geist writes.

“There is no attempt to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, much less grapple with contrary evidence or positions.”

While the Heritage committee did hear several witnesses from people with contrasting views, such as Professor Jeremy de Beer, lawyer Howard Knopf, and author Cory Doctorow, these positions were not reflected in the final report.

The Heritage Committee’s recommendations will now be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, which is tasked the broader copyright review. That report is expected to come out later this year.

As such, there’s still a long way to go before any of these proposals are acted upon, if that’s the case at all.

A copy of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage ‘s “Shifting Paradigms” report is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

EC2 Instance Update – M5 Instances with Local NVMe Storage (M5d)

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/ec2-instance-update-m5-instances-with-local-nvme-storage-m5d/

Earlier this month we launched the C5 Instances with Local NVMe Storage and I told you that we would be doing the same for additional instance types in the near future!

Today we are introducing M5 instances equipped with local NVMe storage. Available for immediate use in 5 regions, these instances are a great fit for workloads that require a balance of compute and memory resources. Here are the specs:

Instance NamevCPUsRAMLocal StorageEBS-Optimized BandwidthNetwork Bandwidth
m5d.large28 GiB1 x 75 GB NVMe SSDUp to 2.120 GbpsUp to 10 Gbps
m5d.xlarge416 GiB1 x 150 GB NVMe SSDUp to 2.120 GbpsUp to 10 Gbps
m5d.2xlarge832 GiB1 x 300 GB NVMe SSDUp to 2.120 GbpsUp to 10 Gbps
m5d.4xlarge1664 GiB1 x 600 GB NVMe SSD2.210 GbpsUp to 10 Gbps
m5d.12xlarge48192 GiB2 x 900 GB NVMe SSD5.0 Gbps10 Gbps
m5d.24xlarge96384 GiB4 x 900 GB NVMe SSD10.0 Gbps25 Gbps

The M5d instances are powered by Custom Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8175M series processors running at 2.5 GHz, including support for AVX-512.

You can use any AMI that includes drivers for the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) and NVMe; this includes the latest Amazon Linux, Microsoft Windows (Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016), Ubuntu, RHEL, SUSE, and CentOS AMIs.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about the local NVMe storage on the M5d instances:

Naming – You don’t have to specify a block device mapping in your AMI or during the instance launch; the local storage will show up as one or more devices (/dev/nvme*1 on Linux) after the guest operating system has booted.

Encryption – Each local NVMe device is hardware encrypted using the XTS-AES-256 block cipher and a unique key. Each key is destroyed when the instance is stopped or terminated.

Lifetime – Local NVMe devices have the same lifetime as the instance they are attached to, and do not stick around after the instance has been stopped or terminated.

Available Now
M5d instances are available in On-Demand, Reserved Instance, and Spot form in the US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), US East (Ohio), and Canada (Central) Regions. Prices vary by Region, and are just a bit higher than for the equivalent M5 instances.

Jeff;

 

Majority of Canadians Consume Online Content Legally, Survey Finds

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/majority-of-canadians-consume-online-content-legally-survey-finds-180531/

Back in January, a coalition of companies and organizations with ties to the entertainment industries called on local telecoms regulator CRTC to implement a national website blocking regime.

Under the banner of Fairplay Canada, members including Bell, Cineplex, Directors Guild of Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Movie Theatre Association of Canada, and Rogers Media, spoke of an industry under threat from marauding pirates. But just how serious is this threat?

The results of a new survey commissioned by Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) aims to shine light on the problem by revealing the online content consumption habits of citizens in the Great White North.

While there are interesting findings for those on both sides of the site-blocking debate, the situation seems somewhat removed from the Armageddon scenario predicted by the entertainment industries.

Carried out among 3,301 Canadians aged 12 years and over, the Kantar TNS study aims to cover copyright infringement in six key content areas – music, movies, TV shows, video games, computer software, and eBooks. Attitudes and behaviors are also touched upon while measuring the effectiveness of Canada’s copyright measures.

General Digital Content Consumption

In its introduction, the report notes that 28 million Canadians used the Internet in the three-month study period to November 27, 2017. Of those, 22 million (80%) consumed digital content. Around 20 million (73%) streamed or accessed content, 16 million (59%) downloaded content, while 8 million (28%) shared content.

Music, TV shows and movies all battled for first place in the consumption ranks, with 48%, 48%, and 46% respectively.

Copyright Infringement

According to the study, the majority of Canadians do things completely by the book. An impressive 74% of media-consuming respondents said that they’d only accessed material from legal sources in the preceding three months.

The remaining 26% admitted to accessing at least one illegal file in the same period. Of those, just 5% said that all of their consumption was from illegal sources, with movies (36%), software (36%), TV shows (34%) and video games (33%) the most likely content to be consumed illegally.

Interestingly, the study found that few demographic factors – such as gender, region, rural and urban, income, employment status and language – play a role in illegal content consumption.

“We found that only age and income varied significantly between consumers who infringed by downloading or streaming/accessing content online illegally and consumers who did not consume infringing content online,” the report reads.

“More specifically, the profile of consumers who downloaded or streamed/accessed infringing content skewed slightly younger and towards individuals with household incomes of $100K+.”

Licensed services much more popular than pirate haunts

It will come as no surprise that Netflix was the most popular service with consumers, with 64% having used it in the past three months. Sites like YouTube and Facebook were a big hit too, visited by 36% and 28% of content consumers respectively.

Overall, 74% of online content consumers use licensed services for content while 42% use social networks. Under a third (31%) use a combination of peer-to-peer (BitTorrent), cyberlocker platforms, or linking sites. Stream-ripping services are used by 9% of content consumers.

“Consumers who reported downloading or streaming/accessing infringing content only are less likely to use licensed services and more likely to use peer-to-peer/cyberlocker/linking sites than other consumers of online content,” the report notes.

Attitudes towards legal consumption & infringing content

In common with similar surveys over the years, the Kantar research looked at the reasons why people consume content from various sources, both legal and otherwise.

Convenience (48%), speed (36%) and quality (34%) were the most-cited reasons for using legal sources. An interesting 33% of respondents said they use legal sites to avoid using illegal sources.

On the illicit front, 54% of those who obtained unauthorized content in the previous three months said they did so due to it being free, with 40% citing convenience and 34% mentioning speed.

Almost six out of ten (58%) said lower costs would encourage them to switch to official sources, with 47% saying they’d move if legal availability was improved.

Canada’s ‘Notice-and-Notice’ warning system

People in Canada who share content on peer-to-peer systems like BitTorrent without permission run the risk of receiving an infringement notice warning them to stop. These are sent by copyright holders via users’ ISPs and the hope is that the shock of receiving a warning will turn consumers back to the straight and narrow.

The study reveals that 10% of online content consumers over the age of 12 have received one of these notices but what kind of effect have they had?

“Respondents reported that receiving such a notice resulted in the following: increased awareness of copyright infringement (38%), taking steps to ensure password protected home networks (27%), a household discussion about copyright infringement (27%), and discontinuing illegal downloading or streaming (24%),” the report notes.

While these are all positives for the entertainment industries, Kantar reports that almost a quarter (24%) of people who receive a notice simply ignore them.

Stream-ripping

Once upon a time, people obtaining music via P2P networks was cited as the music industry’s greatest threat but, with the advent of sites like YouTube, so-called stream-ripping is the latest bogeyman.

According to the study, 11% of Internet users say they’ve used a stream-ripping service. They are most likely to be male (62%) and predominantly 18 to 34 (52%) years of age.

“Among Canadians who have used a service to stream-rip music or entertainment, nearly half (48%) have used stream-ripping sites, one-third have used downloader apps (38%), one-in-seven (14%) have used a stream-ripping plug-in, and one-in-ten (10%) have used stream-ripping software,” the report adds.

Set-Top Boxes and VPNs

Few general piracy studies would be complete in 2018 without touching on set-top devices and Virtual Private Networks and this report doesn’t disappoint.

More than one in five (21%) respondents aged 12+ reported using a VPN, with the main purpose of securing communications and Internet browsing (57%).

A relatively modest 36% said they use a VPN to access free content while 32% said the aim was to access geo-blocked content unavailable in Canada. Just over a quarter (27%) said that accessing content from overseas at a reasonable price was the main motivator.

One in ten (10%) of respondents reported using a set-top box, with 78% stating they use them to access paid-for content. Interestingly, only a small number say they use the devices to infringe.

“A minority use set-top boxes to access other content that is not legal or they are unsure if it is legal (16%), or to access live sports that are not legal or they are unsure if it is legal (11%),” the report notes.

“Individuals who consumed a mix of legal and illegal content online are more likely to use VPN services (42%) or TV set-top boxes (21%) than consumers who only downloaded or streamed/accessed legal content.”

Kantar says that the findings of the report will be used to help policymakers evaluate how Canada’s Copyright Act is coping with a changing market and technological developments.

“This research will provide the necessary information required to further develop copyright policy in Canada, as well as to provide a foundation to assess the effectiveness of the measures to address copyright infringement, should future analysis be undertaken,” it concludes.

The full report can be found here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.