Super Channel just issued a press release this morning - the full text follows. The statement of claim PDF
is also available. (T-1486-19)
Allarco Entertainment launches lawsuit against four major Canadian retailers for promoting content piracy
Super Channel President and CEO, Don McDonald, today announced that Allarco Entertainment 2008 Inc., has stepped to the forefront in the war against content piracy by launching a lawsuit against four major Canadian retailers complicit in the promotion of the downloading and streaming of illegal content on internet streaming devices ("Pirate Devices") sold to customers in their stores.
The lawsuit comes after a 19-month undercover investigation carried out coast-to-coast, of in-store practices by sales personnel, including supervisors and managers, in Best Buy, Staples, Canada Computers, and London Drugs retail outlets, with over 100 hours of audio and video recorded surveillance, documenting 150 events supporting the claim.
The lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court on September 11, 2019. To view the statement of claim and to view a video of the investigation, visit: Change the Culture
"After FairPlay Canada's application to block illegal pirating websites was denied by the CRTC, I felt that something else needed to be done in the war against content piracy," said Don McDonald, President and CEO of Super Channel. "When we discovered that employees from major retailers were actively promoting the downloading and streaming of illegal content to their customers when selling Pirate Devices with Kodi software, we decided to take a closer look and were shocked at what we found. There is a complacency around this issue with these retailers that needs to be addressed. Our goal is to lead in changing the culture around the acceptance of content piracy. People need to be aware that it is actual stealing; it is not a victimless crime and should be treated as such."
The lengthy investigation found that all four stores were complicit in promoting, educating, or instructing consumers on how to download and stream illegal content (series, movies, TV channels) onto Pirate Devices using Kodi software, without payment to the legitimate copyright owner or broadcaster. In some cases, customers were referred to services that could assist them with the process. The investigation also revealed that selling the devices preloaded with Kodi software enables pirating of copyrighted content right off the shelf, including Super Channel series including The Oath and others.
Mr. McDonald hopes that by taking action against these retailers, it will help to change the culture surrounding the issue of content piracy and raise awareness of the issue.
"I felt we couldn't continue to sit back and knowingly allow these retail practices to continue" he stated. "We must take action and encourage all other broadcasters and industry partners to join us. We want the devices removed from the shelves and destroyed. We want each of the stores to adopt and enforce a strict employee policy which will prohibit their employees from engaging, educating, and promoting content piracy at work and at home, and for the public to realize that when they are acquiring content using these devices, without paying for it legitimately, they are stealing."
To that end, Super Channel recently enforced its own Employee Anti-Piracy Policy in which all employees and contractors working with the company must agree to not download, stream or watch illegally acquired content, at the workplace or at home, as a condition of employment. Mr. McDonald hopes that other broadcasters, distributors, and content producers in the industry will soon follow suit.
Mr. McDonald will be discussing his views on this issue with members of the Canadian Communications Systems Alliance while attending the CCSA Connect conference this week in Kelowna, BC.
None of the allegations have been proven in Court. A motion record containing an affidavit that sets out the extensive evidence gathered, including undercover surveillance, will soon be filed.