New Copyright Law May Have Made US Netflix Illegal in Canada


courtesy The Huffington Post Canada  |  By   

Accessing U.S. Netflix in Canada may have been made illegal under Canada’s new copyright law, the legal firm Fasken Martineau says.


Canada’s new copyright law may have made it illegal for TV viewers on this side of the border to access U.S. Netflix, a prominent law firm says.

As part of recent copyright law reforms, the government made it illegal to circumvent technologies that control access to copyrighted works, such as digital locks.

Accessing U.S. Netflix via a VPN could be considered circumventing this measure,” law firm Fasken Martineau says in a bulletin.

The firm notes that whether or not U.S. Netflix is illegal hasn’t been established because the courts have never dealt with the issue.

It suggests other things may also make using U.S. Netflix illegal in Canada — such as the fact that doing so violates the streaming service’s Terms of Use.

Some one in three Canadian households that have Netflix log into the U.S. service, largely because of the larger selection of movies and TV shows available. That’s some one million households that may be in violation of Canadian law.

But the Fasken Martineau report says it’s likelier the companies that provide access to U.S. Netflix would be targeted in any crackdown, rather than end users.

“About 20 years ago, many Canadians were using grey market satellite dishes to access U.S. channels. In that case, the law was ultimately changed to target the dealers selling the equipment, not the individual consumers,” the report said.

In this case, the “dealers” would be the operators of virtual private networks and proxy servers that allow people located in Canada to appear as if their IP address was located in the U.S.

News reports in recent months suggest that streaming services like Netflix are under pressure from copyright holders to stop viewers from jumping across virtual borders.

That may help to explain why Netflix recently stressed in the media that Canadians are not supposed to use the U.S. service.



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