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Quebec ISP To Terminate Subscribers Over Copyright 290

Posted by timothy
from the audacity-of-audacity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Quebecor, which owns Quebec's biggest ISP, has thrown in with Hollywood interests by arguing for the 'graduated response' approach that would kick off subscribers based on three allegations of infringement. The company told Canada's telecom regulator that net neutrality rules are not needed since content blocking has social benefits, including the potential for a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy."
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Quebec ISP To Terminate Subscribers Over Copyright

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  • meh (Score:4, Informative)

    by d-r0ck (1365765) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:24PM (#27002989)
    Videotron. Great network, good speeds, low caps, and terrible customer service.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GerardAtJob (1245980)
      They'll lose tons of client this way... Bell will be happy
      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @06:34PM (#27004927)

        Yeah, seriously. Figure out what worm/malware is the most prolific in Quebecor's customer base.

        Have that program dl a simple client that hooks up to a P2P network and begins asking for Britney Spears albums nonstop. Then watch as Quebecor's customer base drops to zero.

        Remember, it's three allegations of copyright infringement that gets you bumped off their network. Not three proven incidents.

        Perhaps this would show them the error in their policy.

      • because Bell is so much better...what with their evening/late-night throttling and crazy prices.

        I'm moving to Montreal this summer and I hope I can find something better than these two giant ogres for my internet service.

        • by Fulg (138866)

          No other options, sorry. (I'm in Montreal)

          As far as I know, every provider here leases their service from Bell or Videotron.

          Hopefully this won't come to pass just yet, but so far I'm fairly happy with Videotron. Like the GP poster, I get great download speeds (1200Mbit/s actual) and no interference from them, apart from a blocked port 80 (meh).

          The downside is the monthly cap (100GB combined up/down for $79 CDN, so watch your torrents). As long as you don't go over the monthly limit, it's an awesome provider

          • by fugue (4373)

            What is scary about this story is that they are talking about mere allegations of copyright violations to suspend service. Surely this will be abused...

            So... abuse it! Nothing points out the problems with a system faster than breaking it. Is there a punishment for people whose allegations turn out to be incorrect?

            I took some photographs and put them in an archive named "StarWars.zip". This person downloaded and seeded a file by that name on BitTorrent.

            Wait--I thought the blank-media tax made copying legal in Canada?

    • by billcopc (196330)

      That sums it up quite nicely. They used to be great, but in the last 3-4 years they've been rather consistently shitting all over their customer base. I jumped ship when they decided the Extreme plan was no longer unlimited.

      Like every other ISP, they will become a boring, frustrating, penny-pinching joke/scam. It's only a matter of time before they start pissing off the people they thought un-pissable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:25PM (#27003003)

    Alternatives? Where. Show me. Explain to me.

    There is NO alternatives in Quebec.

    Show me the "competitve market" in Ontario. Please leave the Rogers/hBell wholesalers and resellers, and show me the competition.

    Primus in select area's that is not on Bell equipment? MSNi in Windsor not on Bell equipment?
    nexicom in petorborough not on Bell equipment?

    This competition is in isolated communities that the masses have no access to. Now explain the competition in Quebec to me please. Where should Videotron users move to again?

    Whith whom should they speak to with their wallet?

    I will be very surprised if the french language media even picks up on this.

    Quebec isn't even aware of the copyright fight that went on. A couple of obscure articles that came out a month AFTER the re-election.

    Think they will know about this?

    Quebec will push for its own CRTC saying its good for the people, have no coverage, and not tell the people stuff like this will happen. They have been pushing for their own CRTC for years now.

    There is close to zero awareness of these things in Quebec french media and french population.

    Will Quebecor put out a press release saying what it wants to do in their media? heh

    speak with your wallet? Change telco? Let me know when you found an alternative...

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:40PM (#27003231) Homepage Journal

      Who modded this troll? Is there Videotron/Québécor agents reading slashdot?!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by urbanriot (924981)
      No one is stopping anyone from creating an ISP, the Canadian overbuilding rules were lifted long ago. If creating an ISP that offers its users unlimited bandwidth to P2P is that lucrative, especially now, wouldn't someone have gone ahead and done so?
      • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:41PM (#27004205) Journal

        It may not be as simple as just starting an ISP. The last mile service is the most difficult to achieve. Most ISPs in place already have the last mile infrastructure in place from other offerings or had some government assistance to get access.

        DSL, and it's slow adoption is probably the most obvious example of this issue. For years, the lines were not in a shape or quality that could carry DLS signals. This is true within Canada just as much as the US. When DSL tech came availible, some areas had to wait 5 or more years before lines where upgrades and so on before they could get access to it. What people don't really realize is that ADSL was originally developed back in 1988 or so with it's roots coming from the scientific paper released in 1948 "A Mathematical Theory of Communication". It probably wasn't until 2000 or so until DSL started becoming widely availible and affordable because of all the upgrades that needed to be made. Now this is despite the telecoms already using it as an extension to DS1 services to pipe the bulk of calls outside the local exchange.

        Back in 1999, I was working with a guy and we were going to start a DSL ISP in my local area and even rent bandwidth to some local ISPs (mom and pop shops) so help cover the costs. Now, this was in the US so things might be a little different but to get the tech out to the limits of the existing technology at the time, we were going to have to rewire half of the city before we even thought about putting R-DSLAMS in to extend the ranges. And even though we were replacing wire that the telecoms were already obligated to replace, we had to go through the motions of getting a right of way and all that. In the end, it think we estimated it to take something like 15-25 years to repay the initial investment if we were operating at maximum capacity for that time. In 2000 or 2001, Time Warner started upgrading their lines in my local area and offered roadrunner which started taking some of the T1 internet access accounts away, the telcos then upgraded their lines (without having to fuck with 'right of ways') and offered DSL.

        Now both Time Warner and SBC/ATT will offer fiber access to 90% of the local area if your a commercial customer but all your phones and stuff go over the fiber access too which is significantly pointing to the "other uses" which covers the last mile installation costs. Hell, even Verizon's FIOS services which are sold to private customers do the phone and all too.

        It may be impossible for someone to set up a second network offering the speeds and such and remain competitive in the least. This wouldn't be because there aren't enough file sharers or P2P users, it's because so much of the costs are already offset by other services and those opertunities may not be availible to the people.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        There's a lot of costs in starting an ISP. Hardware, running the wire, buying politicians... the usual stuff.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jsrlepage (696948)

      +1. I'm a Videotron client, and all alternatives either suck (Bell), suck more (Videotron resellers), or have no choice but to suck (TekSavvy uses Bell infrastructures).

      Currently, the only service provider with a good signal, less connection drops, and an overall good stability is Videotron. I will be the first to say that our DSL service with Bell is sometimes worse than accessing cellular internet - I kid you not. But aside from Bell (throttling b1tches), Bell resellers (poor them), Videotron (Quebecor ob

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PIBM (588930)

        Until recently, the best choices where DSL resellers, with a very low price tag and great speed (8mpbs). Sadly, bell got the right to slow down their resellers lines when they detected p2p stuff on it. And if you lived in a good area, the connection quality (uptime) was great too!

        Some where offering contract free service, or services without any logging etc...

        Nowadays, you need to go live further away and get a DSL or cable service from the community, and if you are sawwy enough you could even become the ad

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by earthforce_1 (454968)

      IANAL, but maybe someone who is might chime in:

      Since the "alleging 3rd party" and Quebecor caused damages to you ( loss of internet service ) without showing reasonable proof, I wonder if you could sue them?

      Is it possible to get a class action going if they caused large numbers of people to lose internet access?

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        I acuse ADMIN@QUEBECOR.CA of copyright infringement.
        I acuse ADMIN@QUEBECOR.CA of copyright infringement.
        I acuse ADMIN@QUEBECOR.CA of copyright infringement.

        There, three times. Now what? :D

        • by Adriax (746043)

          Great, now you've summoned one of the Elder Gods, Cop'Yr'Ight and his insatiable horde of lawyers. You've doomed the entire world!
          Hastur's got nothing on this tentacle-faced prick.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mrclevesque (1413593)
      In Montreal and VDN cable [web.vdn.ca] or Coop-tel [cooptel.qc.ca] are good options.
    • by Sentry21 (8183) on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:55AM (#27008389) Journal

      In Montreal at least, you can go with Colbanet [colba.net]'s ADSL2+ service. They've got their own equipment, separate DSLAMs and pipes, and don't rely on Bell for anything.

      A previous roommate worked for them on their ADSL2+ rollout. Turns out it was cheaper for them to move the customers they had on Bell's equipment (where they didn't pay for bandwidth) over to their own (where they did). Pretty crazy.

      If you're in Montreal, give them a call and see if they cover your area. If they do, they might be worth the switch.

  • Isn't this already common practice? I know my ISP (COX) warned me that 3 complaints would lead to account termination.

    • Re:Old news (Score:4, Interesting)

      by causality (777677) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:06PM (#27003655)

      Isn't this already common practice? I know my ISP (COX) warned me that 3 complaints would lead to account termination.

      I think it's new and maybe it's becoming common, but right now it's still unusual.

      The one thing that bothers me is that it sounds like mere allegations are enough to count towards the "three strikes". I'm hearing about account terminations etc. and I am not hearing much about the burden of proof.

      The summary had one thing right though:

      The company told Canada's telecom regulator that net neutrality rules are not needed since content blocking has social benefits, including the potential for a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy."

      I agree that this will have societal benefits. For one, if this becomes a widespread practice we're going to see encrypted or obfuscated torrent protocols in a hurry. This will start an arms race that the ISPs have no hope of winning, which is appropriate because copyright is a legal issue, not a technical issue or a customer service issue that an ISP should be concerned about. That's the best way I know of to start an arms race -- apply the wrong solution and when it fails, try harder and harder instead of recognizing a failed idea and looking for a different solution.

      The other societal benefit is that more people are going to start questioning whether draconian copyright enforcement measures are in anyone's best interests. It's like places that have arbitrarily low speed limits; the model depends on the idea that most people get away with it most of the time. If there were a way to perfectly catch and fine 100% of people who exceed the speed limit by even one mile per hour, the result would be a severe public backlash that would cause the speed limit to be raised. Once the public gets tired of the copyright interests' insatiable appetite for increasingly punitive measures, those copyright interests are going to wish like hell that they had quit while they are ahead. They and their products are a mere luxury; we do not need them and as soon as we realize that, it will help to restore the balance of power that is sorely missing.

      The general public is exceedingly stupid when it comes to seeing ahead of time that something is headed down the wrong path and is going to be a problem, but once they do, there's not a whole lot that can stop them. This has all the makings of a severe public backlash because what drives the awareness is the Internet and open discussion so the usual mass-media's one-sided approach to everything won't hold this one back.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AchilleTalon (540925)
        I wonder nobody noticed the owner of this ISP (Videotron which is also offering its services Canada-wide and even outside Canada) is Quebecor which is also owner of a major television channel, which is owner of many other entities involved in film, music and media productions.

        So, no wonder it wants its ISP to lead the march to block P2P and do as much harm as possible to anything that can be used to infringe copyright laws. It is somewhat like have the cop, the judge and the claimer in the same person. In

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dryeo (100693)

      In Canada it is questionable whether downloading stuff is even illegal. Especially music, which has a levy on blank media to pay for sharing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It's not questionable at all. Despite what CIRA has been lying about, it's perfectly legal to download music and movies in Canada.

        Uploading is NOT legal.

        Now paging the /. legal team: Your Law and Order training is required below my post.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jardine (398197)

          It's not questionable at all. Despite what CIRA has been lying about, it's perfectly legal to download music and movies in Canada.

          Uploading is NOT legal.

          Now paging the /. legal team: Your Law and Order training is required below my post.

          The private copying rules only apply to music, not movies.

  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:28PM (#27003053)

    I use Videotron for my own internet access. I disagree with their reasoning on this though. What I am more interested in is exactly why they (or any other ISP) would take this position? The only real gain for an ISP would be the ability to kick bandwidth hogs, which is a win for them for obvious reasons.

    But if they want to have that kind of power, then they would also make themselves at least somewhat liable for what their subscribers are doing over the internet. Do they really want to take on that liability to any degree? Or do they expect to be able to get the ability to throttle bandwidth while still not incurring any liability for user activities?

    END COMMUNICATION

    • by urbanriot (924981)
      Why? That's easy. Users downloading copyrighted materials typically use more bandwidth than regular users, so it's no loss to them if you stop or they cut justifiably (in their eyes) cut you off. I don't agree with it, I'm just suggesting that its their mentality.
      • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:45PM (#27003295) Homepage Journal

        Users downloading creative commons or public domain material or Linux ISOs also typically use more bandwidth than regular users.

        Huge bandwidth users != copyright infringement.

    • by perlchild (582235)

      Quebecor, which owns Videotron is a huge media and content owner. Through subsidiaries, they're closer to being the "Time Warner" of Quebec(and they own some stuff west, just not dominating there like they do here) than just about anything else here.

    • by McGiraf (196030)

      "The only real gain for an ISP would be the ability to kick bandwidth hogs"

      Yes but not only, Videotron is owned by a media company that Owns tv station, newspaper film distributors , book and music publishers.

      They want to sell you their stuff trough their pipes but first they need to cut off the competition , free or not, legal or not.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:36PM (#27003163)
    know somebody who you dont like at school or work that just happens to use this ISP? just complain three times to the ISP and "Bam!" no more internets...
    • Or, for mass effect, do random drivebys on unsecured wifi routers. Torrent some unencrypted goodies through the connection so there's real proof in the ISP's logs that infringement happened.

      Then report the address of the hapless blokes. It may only take a couple dozen instances in the average sized city to achieve the desired effect.

      Cutting off internet access to a bunch of Joe Consumers (who spend over a hundred bucks a month on their cable bill) is a big deal and would guarantee mainstream coverage of t

  • by schwillis (1073082) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:37PM (#27003187)
    I wouldn't be suprised if part of this was pressure from quebecious sepratists who are upset french people are downloading movies in english instead of going and buy french dubbed dvd's.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      As a french Canadian (i.e. Québécois) who prefers to watch movies and TV shows in their original versions (be it french, english or japanese with french or english subtitles), I find your comment funny, insightful and scary.

  • by redelm (54142) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:38PM (#27003199) Homepage
    This looks like a great way to execute a Denial-of-Service attack -- just make false allegations. Preferably on nice lawyer letterhead and legalistic language.

    Sniff the wire and get your hogging neighbors bounced. Or that grll with no taste.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by meerling (1487879)
      who said they have to be false? allegations are unproven... Hmmm.... shall we make allegations against the higher ups at that ISP? Oh, let's really tweak with them and make allegations against Canada's Telecom Regulator. The only thing worse than getting screwed with, is getting tricked into screwing the guy you bosses you around....
  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:45PM (#27003303) Journal

    Once again, there's a "disconnect" (har har) over what an internet connection means in 2009.

    It's not cable TV. It's not your spa membership. This isn't 1997, where one's internet connection was a curiosity and a pastime; it's since assumed the role one's principal informational conduit with the outside world. You pay your bills with it, you file government documents and applications with it, you communicate with employers, employees, friends, and loved ones with it.

    The burden of proof to take someone's internet access away, to force them to live in a non-connected world that no longer even exists, should be monumentally high. That it can be revoked simply on allegation of casual infringement on a copyright should be a lot more disturbing to people than it seems to be.

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      I agree... It is tantamount to removing someone's freedom of speech as most people use it as their primary conduit to post their own thoughts and feelings as well.

      I sure hope that some people get together and sue over this policy. Not only is it unfair and unjust. You have to realize that much public money has gone into helping these companies build the infrastructure they make money off of. None of this half assed begging for public money to do things then treating the network as your own personal back yar

  • How about one strike and I am out. Accuse me once of infringement without due process and I will quit and get a different ISP. Simple.

    Of course I don't live in Quebec so I am not sure what their ISP options are. However if it is like Ontario, there isn't much choice, but there is choice.

  • Not surprising (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmai l . c om> on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:52PM (#27003403) Journal
    Il should be understood that Vidéoétron is owned by Québécor, and Québécor (well, PKP [wikipedia.org]) is the Rupert Murdoch of french media in Canada.

    Québécor owns most of Québec music companies, most of the private TV networks and a lot of newspapers.

    Back when the courts determined that file-sharing was legal and ISPs should not be compelled to ID copyright infringers, Vidéoétron was perfectly willing to turn subscribers IDs to record companies.

  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@ ... il.com minus cat> on Thursday February 26, 2009 @04:58PM (#27003511) Homepage Journal

    Right here [azureuswiki.com]. Despite having friends working at Videotron, I believe the Quebecor empire [wikipedia.org] (more info in Fr [wikipedia.org]) is a bad one as a whole (e.g. newspaper consolidation), not only the ISP part.

  • have a terrible track record for justice. And in this case, I anticipate that it would have an even worse record... much worse.

    Why?

    Because many people will not take the trouble to dispute the first 2 notices, even if they are in error. Only when they get their third unjustified notice will they recoil in horror, realizing that their internet service has been cut off for stupid (and probably unjust) reasons.

    We have all seen what happens when bogus takedown notices are sent. Innocent people suffer. A
  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:03PM (#27003609) Homepage Journal

    get a load of that. private interests are the decider of what's good for society now.

    that's what happens when you allow unbridled capitalism. if there is an unorderly chaos, a lack of authority, more powerful groups fill the gap and establish their own hierarchy. NO different than post roman empire chaos in which roman government wasnt able to restore order. in that feudal lords arose, establishing a new order. it was only in 1400s that central kings were able to establish a valid rule for the land, with the help of cannons, beating feudal lords and freeing them from the whims of robber barons.

    today is no different. we have a king in the form of governments, which WE, as people, control, we have 'private interests', which are trying to assert their own authority in various aspects of social life, hiding behind capitalism, competition and free market excuses.

    the only way that you can have EQUAL, FAIR environment is to bash feudal lords through your central hammer at your disposal - your federal government.

    do it, and you wont live in a virtual feudal domain in your locale under whatever big group controls aspects of life. - for any fool that may err in thinking that they dont : almost all of the services&products you use in your daily life belongs to various corporations which are the holdings of various big megaholdings themselves.

    • get a load of that. private interests are the decider of what's good for society now.

      that's what happens when you allow unbridled capitalism. if there is an unorderly chaos, a lack of authority, more powerful groups fill the gap and establish their own hierarchy.

      and

      the only way that you can have EQUAL, FAIR environment is to bash feudal lords through your central hammer at your disposal - your federal government.

      Uhh...you do realize that it was the government that created such laws as the DMCA, anti-piracy,

    • Do you think they live in a bubble of unbridled capitalism? There is plenty of regulation in the ISP "market". If you ask me, this is more the fault of the government, for their intense regulation of ISPs and letting one or two telcos completely own an area. Unbridled capitalism would mean customers could vote with their wallet and go somewhere else, but yet there are actual customers in here complaining that there are no other options!

      • by Endo13 (1000782)

        "Unbridled capitalism" has absolutely nothing to do with what choices are available for the customer. It means that A.) corporations are completely unlimited on what they can do to grow their companies (if they can get rid of all competition, so much the better for them!), and B.) there are no restrictions on what the customer is allowed to buy. But also, since there is no regulation, there is also nothing to say that any particular corporation or industry has to make any particular thing available for sale

  • Does anyone find it odd that an ISP would be looking to CUT its customer base?

    If you ask me, it isn't about RIAA or MPIAA, the ISPs are greedy. Torrents are hard to shape and take bandwidth that they have to pay for. So, it is a way of booting "expensive" customers and trying to make it look like it is a positive thing.

    Seriously, its just a way for them to increase their bottom line.

  • Isn't that a little extreme? These people most likely have families to take care of!

    Wait...what's that? Oooooh. They're just cutting off internet service.
  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:37PM (#27004151)

    Try here: image [thepiratebay.org]

  • No news here... (Score:3, Informative)

    by LePrince (604021) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:47PM (#27004327)
    I worked there, from 1998-2001... If you submitted a ticket to abuse at videotron dot ca between during 2000 and 2001, there's a 98% chance I was the one replying to it.

    We'd get intrusion emails from sysadmins, particulars, etc. We had a set of rule (sysadmins complaint had more weight than regular individuals, but we still took both into account).

    If we received enough complaints (10 invidiual or 2 sysadmins iirc), you'd get a call from me or a colleague of mine, asking you to refrain. 2nd time would be a final warning, 3rd time was a complete disconnection of your Internet services.

    We were getting complaints from RIAA back in the day, and would process those complaints with the same rule as sysadmins.

    Agreed, back in the day, botnets and all were WAY less widespread than they are now, so I'd say that 75-80% of the time, it was the actual person who did the deed (guy's registered email adress is "leetdude at videotron dot ca" and the alias they caught him under on IRC was "leetdudeqc" for example), where nowaday, a lot of people do "bad deeds" unknowingly because their computer was zombified. But even then, after a single warning, you should get your shit together and get your computer fixed, cleaned, protected. A 30$ router and a 60$ AV/AS software works wonders (not PERFECT, but a lot better than an unpatched unprotected computer plugged in directly in the cablemodem).

    • by Nebu (566313)

      nowaday, a lot of people do "bad deeds" unknowingly because their computer was zombified. But even then, after a single warning, you should get your shit together and get your computer fixed, cleaned, protected. A 30$ router and a 60$ AV/AS software works wonders (not PERFECT, but a lot better than an unpatched unprotected computer plugged in directly in the cablemodem).

      A lot of people have no idea how computers work and are not interested in learning. Router may prevent external computers from exploiting open ports or whatever, but nothing's going to stop the user who downloads and runs an ".exe" because the website claimed it was a "required plugin" for viewing the secret porn content. Even if the antivirus pops up a warning, the user is just as likely to disable it, or add this .exe as an "exception", to be able to get at the porn.

      • I have no idea how my car's alternator & fuel injection works, and i don't care. All i know is the following:
        1) Car starts each morning. If it doesn't start on first turn, i call up my mechanic (Even after 4 years i haven't had a starting problem).
        2) I know i have to remote-lock my car when i exit it. If i lose the car because i failed to lock it, its my fault. Duh!
        3) I know i have to fill premium Gas every week, change the engine oil every 20,000 Kms, and check/fill the air every time i fill Gas.
        4) I k

  • by Flakeloaf (321975) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @05:54PM (#27004427) Homepage

    I hereby accuse the entire Bloc Quebecois of copyright infringement.

    Come on, guys. Two more accusations and we'll never hear from these clods again!

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