MONTRÉAL, Aug. 12, 2021 – Bell, today announced, they welcomed a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada that orders a group of set-top box retailers to shut down operations and pay close to $30 million in damages and costs for making content available without authorization and inducing Canadians to access that content illegally.
“Bell invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year to develop, produce, acquire and deliver great Canadian and international content over multiple platforms, but content piracy continues to undermine the entire media industry, including the work of many Canadians,” said Wade Oosterman, President Bell Media and Vice Chair, BCE and Bell.
In its ruling, the Federal Court found that three set-top box retailers and one individual (a director with one of the retailers) had distributed, offered for sale, sold, operated and possessed equipment used or intended to enable unauthorized and illegal access to content. Noting that “the growth of the illicit pre-loaded set-top box industry underscores the need to deter infringement”, the Court granted permanent injunctions against the retailers and ordered them to pay statutory damages totalling $29.3 million plus punitive damages and other costs.
The Federal Court’s decision released on August 10, 2021, is the direct result of legal action initiated by the media and distribution business unit of Bell and other media companies in Canada.