Bell Canada: weaponizing copyright
We thought we'd seen it all, but Bell has pitched an outrageous proposal to protect its outdated model and censor the Internet... Through NAFTA
Last week Bell pitched an outrageous plan to start censoring the Internet, just to protect their outdated business model. We thought we had seen it all from them – but even WE are shocked!
Bell told the Standing Committee on International Trade on NAFTA that it wants to enshrine mandated website blocking in the trade agreement – a proposal so outrageous it goes beyond even what their U.S. counterparts have asked for. And it gets worse: Bell also asked the government to implement new radical copyright rules that could criminalize our everyday online activities, leading to a major chill on free expression in Canada.
This is a prime example of how corporate lobbyists use free trade agreements to expand their power grab and trample the public interest. Take my word, Bell will use every opportunity it can to lobby for its interests at the expense of our digital rights. But the government said it wants a “progressive" trade deal and we’re going to hold them to it.
Bell has a long history of lobbying government in secret discussion, and this is not the first time Bell has gone over the heads of decision-makers engaged in democratic processes. But now they are going even further: trying to use an international trade deal to sneak in laws that would wreak havoc on carefully crafted made-in-Canada policy, in a way that would never work through fair and open processes here at home.
Bell’s plan would establish criminal provisions attached to ALL commercial infringement, which could cover a wide range of common activities online. This would lead Internet users like you and I to censor ourselves online out of fear of criminal liability for copyright infringement – especially without any judicial oversight.
Our pocket books are already at the mercy of Big Telecom – let’s not let them have even more control over what we can and can’t see online.
Bell’s NAFTA proposal is an unbelievably bold move. Attempting to sacrifice our digital rights while bypassing public consultation and democratic process is the worst kind of trickery. These sorts of censorship activities are what we see in authoritative regimes. Bell’s truly shocking proposal would erode our free speech and control over our online activities.We cannot let Canada go down this path and must stop Bell from using NAFTA to strip us of our digital rights.