Indie ISP Distributel sticks up for Canadians – and wins!

Image from DES Daughter on Flickr

Earlier this year, we told you about how a Federal Court in Montreal ordered Distributel, an independent Internet service provider (ISP), to reveal the identities of its customers who allegedly infringed copyright of materials belonging to film companies NGN Prima Productions and Riding Films Inc.

According to the motion, the IP addresses of 50 individuals were identified as illegally having copied and shared copyrighted materials belonging to both companies. Canipre Inc., a Montreal-based company used to target customers of independent ISP TekSavvy in a separate case, was hired to investigate the IP addresses involved in the alleged copyright infringement.

Instead of simply handing over the private information of its customers, Distributel fought back against the motion, accusing NGN of copyright trolling, misrepresenting potential liability, targeting smaller ISPs in order to threaten residential Internet access, and failing to provide accurate evidence about the amount of copyrighted work that was infringed or how the company obtained subscriber information. Distributel also fought hard against what it saw as a significant infringement of its customers’ privacy, noting that there was no other way for NGN to have received information about its subscribers without having violated their privacy.

As big telecom company Bell goes the opposite direction with the data grab of its paying subscribers, Distributel’s willingness to stick up for its subscribers has paid off. The film companies have dropped their case precisely because Distributel was unwilling to cower down to threats against its subscribers and to unfounded allegations of copyright infringement.

When was the last time Big Telecom went to bat for you, Canada? Learn more about independent ISPs in your area at and tell Industry Minister James Moore that it's time to rein in Big Telecom gatekeepers.

Topics: Online Spying

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