Court Orders Internet Service Providers To Block Illegal Streaming Website


In a precedent setting move, a federal court has ordered Canada's internet service providers (ISPs) to block the website of a company that offers pirated television streaming online.

This is the first time that such an order has been made in Canada, and the federal judge has given ISPs across the country 15 days to comply with the order or face penalties. The decision targets Gold TV, a company that offers thousands of traditional TV channels streamed via the internet.

Earlier this year, a coalition of Canadian telecommunications companies and ISPs -- Bell Media, Groupe TVA and Rogers Media -- filed a complaint in a federal court saying that GoldTV.ca was selling subscriptions to numerous channels without owning the rights.

But fellow ISP TekSavvy opposed the complaint, saying that the court should rely on the “specialized expertise” of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), rather than exercise its own judgement on the matter. TekSavvy raised concerns that ISPs would be faced with “hundreds or even thousands” of site-blocking orders in the future, and that could put a “significant strain” on their operations.

In making the court ruling, the judge in the matter acknowledged that an internet censorship order of this kind hasn't been issued in Canada before, though a similar ruling has been made in the United Kingdom.

GoldTV.ca offers 4,000 live TV channels in standard and high definition for $15 per month. Among the Canadian TV channels its website provides include Citytv, CTV, Global, as well as BBC, ESPN and Animal Planet.

It remains to be seen whether the federal court ruling will be appealed.