The Bell website blocking coalition has consistently argued their plan is similar to those found in other countries that have permitted website blocking. As I detailed in my lengthy series on the proposal, it is actually an outlier, since the absence of court orders for blocking puts it at odds with virtually every other country that insists on court orders as a matter of basic due process. The proposal is also a significant outlier in another important respect, however. In most countries, telecommunication providers oppose website blocking, consistent with longstanding and widely held views that they should act as neutral intermediaries that provide carriage rather than play a proactive role of blocking access to online content.
Post Tagged with: "fairplay"
Outlier: Why Bell’s Leadership on Website Blocking Places It at Odds With Telecom Companies Around the World
Dialling Up the Bell Lobbying Playbook: Production Company Website Blocking Submissions Using Identical Script
With just over a week left in the CRTC’s comment period on the Bell coalition website blocking proposal, the Commission has now received thousands of comments with the vast majority opposing the plan. While supporters of the site blocking approach have dismissed the opposition, Bell’s tactics in drumming up support deserves further examination. Last month, I blogged about its astroturfing campaign, which involved encouraging employees to submit comments without any reference to the need to disclose their corporate affiliation.
In addition to the internal efforts, Bell has clearly reached out to others with template language that can be used for submissions. Some customize their submissions, but many simply copy the supplied language verbatim.
Nearly one month ago, I set out to outline the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan. Sixteen instalments later (plus bonus posts on Bell’s astroturfing campaign and the remarkable success of the day of action opposing the plan), I have examined the myriad of problems with the proposal. The objective was never to justify piracy. Rather, it was to conclusively demonstrate that the proposal is disproportionate, harmful, offside international standards, violates Canadian norms, and does not come close to meeting the CRTC’s requirements for approval of website blocking. This post summarizes the key points for each of these five sources of concern. The CRTC is accepting interventions until March 29th, leaving Canadians with several more weeks to speak out to the Commission, their Member of Parliament, and the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains.
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 16: The CRTC as the Internet Content Regulatory Authority
In Canada, services that broadcast over the Internet don’t need a licence from the CRTC, as we exempted them from this obligation. We do not intervene on content on the Internet.
This statement – we do not intervene on content on the Internet – appears on the CRTC site at the very beginning of a page devoted to TV shows, movies, music and other content online. It may not be a regulatory statement, but it reflects how the CRTC sees itself and how it wants to be seen. Bell and other companies associated with the coalition have regularly tried to drag it into various forms of content regulation under the Telecommunications Act. Yet the Commission has rightly rejected those efforts, emphasizing that it does not licence or judge Internet content nor is it empowered by legislation to do so.
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 15: It Undermines the Telecommunications Act Policy Objectives
The CRTC has ruled that it will only permit website blocking in “exceptional circumstances” and only where doing so would further the objectives found in the Telecommunications Act. As yesterday’s post noted, even if the CRTC were to think that the terrible Bell coalition website blocking proposal is worth supporting, the plan falls outside the Commission’s stated rules on website blocking since the application fails to make the case that it furthers the objectives found in the Act.
In fact, not only does the Bell proposal fail to make the case that it furthers the Telecommunications Act objectives, but there is a far better argument that it undermines them. As noted yesterday, the Telecommunications Act identifies nine objectives: