Media piracy has been prevalent since the floodgates were opened on what we know as the Internet. While each country has its own methods in trying to deal with piracy, Canada has made its first bold step towards setting a precedent for how to deal with piracy that occurs within its borders. Just this month, the Canadian Federal Court issued an order for ISPs to block an IPTV service called GoldTV because it was using media content illegally.
This order was not born from the Canadian government, however. The idea was formed between a group of ISPs including Videotron, Bell, and Rogers. These ISPs are more than just internet providers, instead also functioning as cable providers and/or broadcasters. As such, pirate sites such as GoldTV can be detrimental to these ISPs. However, in the face of this order, many critics have voiced concerns over how this may create a disturbing precedent for growing censorship in Canada, and how private interests can possibly manipulate the freedom of expression and information.
Opposition to the Order
On the surface, it would seem like a no-brainer. Stop piracy so no one loses what they could be earning. But any action by a governmental body could mean creating a legal precedent that can lead to other unintended consequences. Last year there was a group of media companies—over 25 of them—that tried convincing the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to take measures to find and put a stop to piracy websites that were illegally distributing content. However, because of the Telecommunications Act, the request was rebuffed and denied.
The CRTC went on to say that there were other ways to address the issue, like reviewing the Copyright Act and the Broadcasting Act instead of a singular motion to completely block another entity. The denial of the group’s request, however, was what led to the lawsuit that has Canada standing where it is now. During the lawsuit, the judge had ruled that blocking GoldTV did not endanger freedom of speech or net neutrality.
The Cost of Piracy and the Dangers of Censorship
According to a study in June 2019, by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center, digital content piracy has cost the global media industry “at least $29.2 billion in lost revenue each year.” These costs don’t just harm company profits, they also result in thousands of people losing their jobs. The same June 2019 study said that 230,000 to 560,000 jobs were lost in 2017 due to the damage caused by digital piracy. It would be understandable if one were to argue that taking hard measures to counter piracy can improve both the industry as well as the lives of individuals working in it.
Critics fear that those same measures, even if the intentions are well-meaning, may in the end lead to unjust measures being taken by the same ISP groups that are voicing their concerns today. That is because of the precedent that this singular case has already created: the government is now dipping its hands further into internet and content regulation. These fears, too, are understandable, especially after observing internet regulation in countries such as China, whose “Great Firewall” measure has become synonymous with extreme domestic internet regulation and censorship. Other nations have taken temporary but equally heavy-handed measures to completely blackout their internet, such as Iran in reaction to protestors this month. Furthermore, critics have pointed out that people are able to circumvent new measures by using VPN technology, something that’s already popular in countries with heavy censorship.
Your Personal Privacy Is Paramount to Us
With challenges to net neutrality and data privacy becoming more and more frequent, it’s easy to be worried that your data and information could be exposed to all sorts of entities. But you will never have to worry about that when you work with Secure Data Recovery. From our SSAE 18 Type II certification to our FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Data Handling Practices, we’re the top experts when it comes to protecting our clients and their data privacy.
From the moment your media reaches us to when it’s returned to you, we’ll make every effort to save your data and protect your privacy. Even better, if you should ever experience a data breach, we also offer digital forensics services with our SecureForensics division. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to learn more about our other products and services for data security.