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Supreme Court of Canada denies Teksavvy Solutions Inc leave to appeal Canada’s first site-blocking Order

This article was originally published by Olivier Jean-Lévesque.

On March 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada denied Teksavvy Solutions Inc’s application for leave to appeal a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal (2021 FCA 100), affirming the Federal Court’s decision in Bell Media Inc et al v Goldtv.biz et al, 2019 FC 1432, which enjoined Canada’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block their subscribers’ access to certain piracy websites.

This decision confirms once and for all that site-blocking Orders are available in Canada, and is another major victory for Canadian copyright holders in the fight against online piracy.

The Plaintiffs/Respondents Bell Media Inc, Groupe TVA Inc and Rogers Media Inc were successfully represented by Smart & Biggar’s litigation team in Montréal led by François Guay, Guillaume Lavoie Ste-Marie and Olivier Jean-Lévesque.

Context

As previously reported, on July 17, 2019, Bell Media Inc, Groupe TVA Inc and Rogers Media Inc (the Plaintiffs) filed an action for copyright infringement against the anonymous developers behind two highly popular unauthorized subscription services that operate under the name GoldTV (GoldTV Services), which distribute a vast amount of content owned by the Plaintiffs and third parties. Despite the issuance of interim and interlocutory injunctions against the GoldTV Services in July and August 2019, some of the services remained in operation, leaving the Plaintiffs without an apparent recourse.

In that context, the Plaintiffs sought and ultimately obtained an Order compelling Canada’s major ISPs to block their subscribers from accessing the GoldTV Services. This remedy, known as a site-blocking order, was the first of its kind in Canada, but has been available to copyright owners in other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

Teksavvy Solutions, an ISP that had opposed the issuance of the site-blocking Order before the Federal Court, challenged the Order in an appeal before the Federal Court of Appeal, which unanimously confirmed its validity on May 26, 2021.

Teksavvy Solutions sought leave to appeal the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the basis that the Federal Court did not have jurisdiction to issue such an order under the Copyright Act and that the framework applied for its issuance was inappropriate, notably because of freedom of expression concerns.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court of Canada has now denied Teksavvy Solutions’ leave to appeal (Docket No. 39876). As is typically the case in applications for leave to appeal, the Supreme Court did not provide reasons for its decision.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our firm's Litigation Group.

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