Canadians Join Campaign to Shutter

A coalition of Canadian broadcasters is seeking to permanently shut down, a website that until recently had been retransmitting US and Canadian TV programming over the Internet. The site was on the receiving end of an American lawsuit filed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania late in January by a group of television networks, film studios, and professional sports leagues.

Plaintiffs—including the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., CTV Television Inc., and Chum Ltd.—filed the most recent suit the first week of February, in the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. In it, the broadcasters charge that's pirated programming competes "unfairly for advertising revenue using broadcasters' own property." Until it was prohibited in the US, the site let Net viewers watch major US and Canadian television broadcasts—without the programmers' original paid advertisements. Ads procured by, a unit of Toronto's TVRadioNow Corp., were inserted instead, attorneys claim.

Damages of $75 million Canadian are being sought by the Canadian broadcasters against, which replied to the US suit with a prepared statement that it "believes it is acting in compliance with all applicable laws and will defend itself actively and vigorously." US sports leagues are seeking $5 million in damages; American networks are seeking $150,000 for each pirated program. The site is, at the moment, inoperative; considering the array of heavyweights opposing it, chances for its survival appear slim.