Is Canada a Haven for Pirates?

In a post on his blog today, Michael Geist challenges both Warner Bros. and the Globe and Mail’s coverage of the former’s claims about Canada’s contributions to movie piracy. Referring to a story in today’s Globe that indicated that Canada is one of the world’s worst piracy offenders and that Montreal was identified as the world’s no. 1 city for illegal camcording, Geist points out that there is no consistent evidence placing Canada at the top of the camcorder pirate list, as the Warner claim suggests:

According to the MPAA, the world’s leading source of pirated movies is the United States, home to the anti-camcording laws that supposedly solve the problem. The MPAA says that 43 percent of pirated movies are sourced to the U.S. and now says that 20 percent come from Canada. Leaving aside the ongoing inconsistency of the industry claims, there is no disputing that the MPAA itself has identified New York, not Montreal, as the number one city for camcording.

The Globe’s own Mathew Ingram made many of the same points yesterday in his Geekwatch blog, (“Studios sing chorus of ‘Blame Canada'”), referring to, among others, Geist’s earlier post on the issue. Geist also points out that federal legislation that would allow significant fines or imprisonment of camcorder (among other) infringers (the Copyright Act) exists. On my read, one of the articles that both criticize easily can have left readers with the impression that Canada has no legislation that would permit prosecution of camcorder infringers. Both writers opine that the Warner move seems calculated less to address an urgent Canadian piracy problem than to maintain pressure on the Canadian government to enshrine anti-piracy provisions in the Criminal Code.


  1. Good catch, Kim. I heard the news stories but didn’t see the related commentary. Definitely a hot button issue! Hollywood definitely has it in for us Canadians. Oh, except for maybe those who are making money for them like Jim Carrey. Heh.