TekSavvy Takes Pirate Site Blocking

Internet provider TekSavvy is taking the legal battle over Canada's first pirate site blocking order to the Supreme Court.

The company TekSavvy has no sympathy for pirate sites but feels that it's obligated to defend the neutral role of ISPs and prevent freedom of speech from being violated. In 2018, Canada’s Federal Court approved the country’s first pirate site-blocking order. Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to the domains and IP-addresses of pirate IPTV service GoldTV. 

There was little opposition from Internet providers, except for TekSavvy, which quickly announced that it would appeal the ruling. The blocking injunction threatens the open Internet to advance the interests of a few powerful media conglomerates, the company said.

After a long appeal process, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal concluded earlier this year that the blocking order can stay in place. According to the Court, site-blocking injunctions are an available option under the Copyright Act and they don’t violate freedom of speech or net neutrality. 

The decision came as a disappointment to TekSavvy, which hasn’t given up the fight just yet. A few hours ago, Andy Kaplan-Myrth, vice-president of regulatory affairs, announced that his company had asked Canada’s Supreme Court to hear the case. The ISP stresses that the issues at stake are too important not to appeal. The company is not trying to defend pirate sites or services in any way. It simply wants to protect the neutral role ISPs have had for decades.

“TekSavvy has no sympathy for copyright infringing sites. They shouldn’t do that; copyright owners should enforce their copyrights. Our opposition is about protecting the neutral role of ISPs, who provide the pipes and carry the bits,” Kaplan-Myrth notes in a series of tweets. The blocking order applies to all large Internet providers in Canada but TekSavvy is the only one actively protesting it. 

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TekSavvy previously warned that the blocking order could open the floodgates to similar or more far-reaching demands.