CIPPIC Questions Canadian Piracy Claims

In the ratcheting up of major organizations calling for Internet Censorship, it seems at least one organization is disputing some of the claims: CIPPIC.

The debate surrounding Internet censorship is heating up. Earlier, we reported on the CBC joining a coalition to try and bring Internet censorship into Canada.

Among the claims is that if websites that are accused of copyright infringement aren’t blocked by Canadian ISPs, then jobs will be lost and the entertainment industry will experience losses. Another claim is that piracy in Canada is out of control and one of the worst in the world.

It seems some are calling into question some of the claims being thrown out there. David Fewer of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) is expressing skepticism. From Motherboard:

“I would contest the claim that Canada has a huge piracy problem, particularly compared to the rest of the world,” said David Fewer, an intellectual property lawyer and director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa, in an email.

“Unauthorized streaming took a nosedive with the coming of Netflix and similar streaming services,” Fewer added. “Music piracy was a huge millennial issue because of the failure of the industry to launch useful and affordable digital services. iTunes and Spotify changed all that. Even [industry group] Music Canada’s own report claims that Canada is significantly beneath the global piracy average.”

Indeed, that group’s 2017 report states that 33 percent of Canadian survey respondents said they pirated music that year, compared to 40 percent globally. A report by anti-piracy company MUSO—submitted by FairPlay Canada as part of its CRTC application—states that Canadians visited piracy websites 1.88 billion times in 2016. That sounds huge, but the MUSO report says Canada is eighth in the world for piracy by site visits.

“Canada is always labeled a ‘piracy haven’ whenever special interests call for more, longer and stronger copyright protection,” the CIPPIC’s Fewer wrote me in an email. “ I wouldn’t expect things to be any different this time around, and they’re not.”

Further reading: What File-sharing studies really say.

CIPPIC official website

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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