Campaign ramps up to block websites accused of piracy


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s a push by mainstream media to block websites accused of piracy but some critics are calling it censorship.

OpenMedia is reporting a month-long ‘Don’t Censor Canada‘ campaign has already seen 50,000 people voice concerns with the CRTC, which is accepting comments until March 29th.

Digital rights advocate Katy Anderson says Canada already has some of the toughest anti-piracy laws in the world. “I’m just really thankful for all the Canadians that spoke out against this dangerous copyright plan because it eats away at the underlying principles of freedom of expression and net neutrality.”

She’s responding to concerns raised by Fair Play Canada — a coalition which claims the entertainment industry loses billions of dollars every year to piracy.

“The values behind the proposal are good. They want Canadian artists to get paid for their work. I agree with them. I love Canadian art and I think it makes us as a society stronger, but the problem is, once you start to eat away at these principles, what else do we lose?”

In January, the anti-piracy coalition which includes Bell, the CBC and Rogers Media, asked federal regulators to create an agency that would block any websites “blatantly engaged” in content theft.

It’s suggesting online piracy could cost the entertainment industry close to $67 billion by 2022, but Anderson says that’s dangerous.

“Is this using a machine gun to kill a mosquito versus is it OK for us as a society to give up our long-held standing values of freedom of expression online? There’s the example of Telus back in 2005 blocking a website. With it, they took down another 760 websites, so you have to be really careful, otherwise, you’re going to start taking fair and legal content and that’s what we’re worried about.”

She adds piracy rates are dropping as more people choose legal alternatives like Netflix, Spotify and Apple Music.
The OpenMedia campaign also has support from the BC Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

Rogers is the parent company of NEWS 1130.

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