Quebec Court Issues Permanent Injunction Against QuebecTorrent

A Quebec court has issued a permanent injunction against Quebec Torrent.  ADISQ and AFTPQ, the two Quebec associations that filed suit against the torrent tracker site, report that the Superior Court ordered the site to shut down the section of the site that permitted unauthorized sharing of music, movies, and other copyrighted works.   The site now features a shutdown notice that says that the court ordered:

the defendants Sébastien Brûlotte and inc., their officers, administrators, employees, representatives, mandator as well as any person acting directly or indirectly on their behalf or according to their instructions, as well as to any person informed of the present injunction to immediately close the torrents on these website Quebectorrent and to refrain from being involved in any website using the bittorrent technology, peer to peer, or any other technology allowing the download of any work protected by copyright.

Update: Coverage from the National Post and TorrentFreak that suggests that this is not quite the victory claimed by the industry. 


  1. Google, watch out
    Since the point of a Torrent Tracker is to enable people to find offered files, and since some of the files that are offered are in fact breaking copyright (in Canada… where they are being offered from the may not be), I would suggest that all search engines should be covered, or none 😉

    OK, this takes the issue to an extreme, but search engines provide links to files that may be breaking copyright just like a Torrent Tracker site. So, rather than get Quebectorrent to remove the offending file from the site (I suspect that the reason the associations didn’t want to do this was because it would mean they need to monitor the site, looking for links to files that actually were violating copyright, and frankly, that is just too much like work), they shut them down instead, affecting legal downloads as well. Perhaps we can issue a complaint against these associations for restricting trade and access to information.

  2. “any other technology allowing the download of any work protected by copyright”
    Now, I don’t condone the downloading of copyrighted works, but the wording here is a little much. Search engines, web browsers, and FTP clients all allow such downloading. These guys would have to go completely offline to comply with the court’s order.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone seriously there were any legal downloads on Quebectorrent? This blog post is rather like announcing that someone was arrested for shoplifting. Shock Horror. Please, so you don’t like copyright, but find a better target than this

  4. Do you have any proof of the accusation that the site only referenced illegal downloads? That would require, at the very least, a concerted effort on the part of the system manager. Or do you consider things such as Linux distributions illegal (I don\’t know if they were available through that site, but they are available through torrents)?

    Was there stuff on the site that wasn\’t legal in Canada? I don\’t doubt this at all. However, the accusation that Torrent Trackers exist solely to serve illegal, and ONLY illegal, downloads is another beast altogether.

  5. More Information?
    Is there any way to get more information on this ruling? I highly doubt the actual ruling was \”refrain from being involved in …any other technology allowing the download of any work protected by copyright.\” As a previous poster has said, this is just too broad. The problem here is that there is no way for a user of such technology to know whether a particular file is posted with the permission of the copyright holder or not. YouTube is the classic example where many files are copyrighted and posted illegally, many are copyrighted and posted without permission but the copyright owner doesn\’t mind the exposure, and many are posted by the copyright owner. All you have to do is look at the #1 YouTube download, \”Evolution of Dance\” and ask yourself — did the music studios go after that guy and sue him for using those songs in a publicly distributed work without compensation to the artists?

  6. @Kevin
    Kevin: The above poster is an obvious troll, why else would they leave the name blank and spit out an accusation that has no real standing, what with the lack of proof, as for Quebec torrent, did the parties involved actually state what they “suspected” the copyright material was.

  7. Sloppy lawyers/judge?
    “any work protected by copyright”:

    Leaving aside the particular details of this case, I can’t help but notice how sloppy the wording is (or appears to the non-lawyer that I am). GNU/Linux systems, Firefox, etc. ARE “protected by copyright”. But it’s perfectly legal to download those.

    Then, there’s the “any … technology allowing”:

    Here, e-mail is a technology that allows downloading of material protected by copyright. So, taking the injunction to the letter, the defendants cannot go work for yahoo or google or many others.

    I think the wording in French is more precise, though it still has the flaw about work protected by copyright. Maybe a bad french-to-english translation.

  8. ah ah ah
    Lots of torrent trackers out there (I never heard about this one). The best of them? GOOGLE. Try it yourself googling “indiana jones torrent”

  9. Chris Brand says:

    ridiculously broad
    You could argue that the radio and TV allow “downloading” of copyrighted works, although it’s slightly less clear than IP (i.e. the entire Internet) – plenty of people have taped works from the radio or TV.

    It would definitely be interesting to see whether the actual ruling is this broad.

  10. decision
    Can somebody post a link to the full text of the decision?

  11. maupassant says:

    injunction wording
    Since their own work is automatically protected by copyright, wouldn’t it now be contempt of court to publish their own work on the internet? They can now not legally keep a blog. If the injunction is really worded that sloppily the supremes would have to overturn if it were brought before them.

    In fact, since I’ve now been informed of the injunction, perhaps it’s now illegal in Quebec for me to use bittorrent to download a Linux distribution using bittorrent. In fact, I think I’m archiving the source code for 2 or 3 bittorrent clients. Am I now on Quebec’s 10 most wanted list?

    Tell you what, let’s all just move back to 1955. We can revive Duplesis and the world will once again be as it should. Time to learn Portugese and plan an escape to Brazil …

  12. A few points
    Steph wrote:

    \”I think the wording in French is more precise, though it still has the flaw about work protected by copyright. Maybe a bad french-to-english translation.\”

    Here is my translation of the last sentence, which I believe is better than the translation on the site:

    \”…to refrain from allowing or making it easier to reproduce works protected by copyright using BitTottent technology, peer-to-peer technology, or any other technology.\”

    So, it seems to suffer from all the problems that other posters have already mentioned in earlier comments: it may be difficult to know whether certain materials are protected by copyright, and if so, whether the copyright holders agree to redistribution of these materials by third parties. Moreover, strictly speaking, free / libre / open source software *is* covered by copyright, so the Web site oweners would be acting against the injunction by setting up a mirror for a Linux distribution like Debian or Ubuntu, even though the licences of these distributions explicitly allow redistribution by third parties. On the other hand, I do not think the judge would take action against the Web site owners if they were to set up such a mirror, because no one would complain about it; however, I am not a lawyer.

    Just as offensive and threatening is the fact that the injunction prevents the Website owners from commenting about the case, as reporter here: [ link ]

    \”Les administrateurs doivent aussi s\’abstenir de faire tout commentaire sur le site ou ailleurs à l\’égard du jugement.\” (right before \”Une première\”) Translation: \”Web site administrators must also refrain from making any comment comment about decision on the Web site or elsewhere.\” The same is being reported here: [ link ]

    Great society we live in when the courts order people not to make comments about their decisions in public…

  13. Quebec Decisions
    Just a further point on the precedent this sets – which is virtually none. Quebec law is based on a different system than that of the rest of Canada, and it’s well established that provinces other than Quebec do not have to follow Quebec’s precedents on case law. This is NOT a case of prosecutors going after a little guy to set a Canada-wide precedent. If this was an Ontario or British Columbia ruling it would mean a lot more.

  14. Difference between French/English
    To Enforcer:

    1) The difference between the french and english version is that in the english version it forbids the use of a technology that can be used to facilitate… whereas in the french version, it forbids using technology to facilitate…

    2) However, both the french and english versions have the problem that it is not necessarily wrong to copy copyrighted material. It\’s only illegal to infringe on the license.

    Because of (2), the difference in (1) in practice, doesn\’t matter. However, if (2) got clarified, then (1) would be a significant difference.

  15. Jurisprudence
    Steve on 2008-07-11 21:44:02: “Just a further point on the precedent this sets – which is virtually none. Quebec law is based on a different system than that of the rest of Canada, and it’s well established that provinces other than Quebec do not have to follow Quebec’s precedents on case law.”

    What you are talking about is Quebec’s “civil code” vs TROC’s “common law”; those have provincial scope.

    But Copyright laws are federal.

  16. Anonymous says:

    better shut down google. the largest linker to copyright infringement. The owner of quebec torrent should just move his hosting somewhere else, sweden perhaps. There are large number of torrent sites hosted in canada but most sysops use false names and therefore can’t find to sue. The game of cat and mouse will continue forever.

  17. Record Company Mole says:

    Pay no attention to the rulin
    Just go ahead and steal. That’s what we do to the artists, and the songwriters, and the public every chance we get. It’s all over anyway. We’re all getting fired thanks to you, so rob us blind. Steal, steal, steal. Put a brick through a store window. Steal the merchandise. Who is anyone is a position of authority to tell someone with an IP address and a grudge that he has to follow a freakin’ rule? Everything is free. Just don’t steal stuff where there’s a chance you’ll get caught. Oh, go steal Geist’s car. Call it fair dealing. He’ll understand. It’s your RIGHT.

  18. Unconstitutional
    Record Company Mole, you’re a crackhead.

    This ruling will face a constitutuional challenge.

  19. this=danger
    how could they do this ? i mean it’S only links stuff ain’t stored on their server’s right? if so i would challenge that
    what it could dangerously set in people’s minds is torrent=piracy
    wich is totally false just take a look at what CBC has done with their shows.

  20. Hold on here – if the EXISTING Copyright Act was used to support this ruling, then why does the Act need to be amdended in such a dramatic and deleterious fashion?

  21. Site is back, under new name
    TorrentFreak reports that the site is back, under the new name and the “new” management.