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About a hundred Quebec films have been illegally streamed on YouTube

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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Quebec movies and TV series are illegally streamed on YouTube. duty He counted nearly 150 products here, which can be accessed for free on the platform, creating a shortfall that could run into tens of millions of dollars for producers and artisans.

September 5, 2021. As Denis Villeneuve walks the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival for the film’s premiere DuneThe beneficiaries of the director’s first films are active. They want to take advantage of the enthusiasm surrounding the Quebec filmmaker to distribute first productions to broadcasters.

At the same time, however, a pirated version of whirlpool It was available on YouTube for about a month. It already has over a thousand views. A few weeks ago, it was restored by the Elephant ofAugust 32 on Earth which can also be viewed for free. The two works will eventually be removed from the platform at the request of the Quebec distributor h264 and Éléphant.

If the products only travel on YouTube, it’s clear that others have been settling there for several years. in September, duty It has identified up to 120 feature films, 6 documentaries and about twenty television series, of which at least one full season can be accessed. At least 500 hours of pirated products suddenly ignoring copyright.

For fiction films only duty The total number of views has reached more than 11 million. It contains films by many Quebec directors, including Xavier Dolan, Pierre Falardeau, Robert Morin, Podz and Charles Binamé.

Translated into rents – at the regular rate of $4.99 – this would represent $54.9 million in revenue, of which 30% will go to broadcasters ($16.5 million), and the rest ($48.4 million). Millions) for pregnant women.

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There is clearly no guarantee that these offers would have resulted in rents, notes Dominic Dugas, Elephant’s general manager. However, the exercise shows that large sums slip into the fingers of recipients.

“It is a problem of respecting the rights and royalties of all craftsmen, professional associations, distributors… all those who have invested their talent as well as their money. There should not be the possibility of watching films for free when these films are shown elsewhere.

Removing pirated copies is a constant struggle. “For our part, we are responsible for the restored copies and not for the original works in the strict sense of the word,” he explains. Result: Restored versions of stories for everyone De Roch Demers, for example, is virtually absent from the site, although a number of original editions are almost always there.

Competitive platforms

The feature films in the Seville film catalog exist in great numbers, many for a long time. duty She identified 39 films, including a number of hits, that have been there for more than five years. The number of views is close to four million.

The pirated versions are also in direct competition with those distributed on platforms such as Netflix or Crave: Good Cop, Bad CopAnd Triple JourneyAnd liarAnd Sector 13, etc. Seville Films declined the interview request Should On the subject: “We have measures in place to protect our films, but we do not wish to comment further,” an official from the distributor replied.

The relationship with YouTube is a special one, acknowledges Christian Aslin, Senior Director, Webtélé, ICI and Jeunesse at Radio-Canada: “It’s a relationship between friend and foe. We use the platform to promote our content, but we don’t want to showcase full products. on him. “

“Having productions streamed here on YouTube – when that happens – definitely competes with what we do,” she said. Since only producers can submit withdrawal requests, agrees once licensing agreements are signed so they can request that pirated copies that can be streamed be withdrawn.

In this universe, the chain of responsibility for product recall is evolving in line with the agreements. In the beginning, it is the responsibility of the company – or the person – who owns the rights. However, when a producer grants the broadcasting rights to a distributor, it is up to him to implement them. And when the distribution rights expire, the producer takes over. The situation is necessarily more complicated when a production company is dissolved without purchasing its catalog.

In an email sent to ShouldGoogle, the owner of YouTube, ensures that the rights of copyright holders are respected. In addition, it is up to them to confirm the day before they are produced, notes the multinational: “We depend on [eux] To notify us of unauthorized downloads. […] when[ils] By notifying us of a video that infringes their copyrights, we immediately remove the content in accordance with the law and close the accounts of repeat infringers. “

freedom culture

“There is a culture of freedom that does not help,” asserts Helen Messier, Executive Director of the Quebecouis Association for Media Production (AQPM). She believes the problem lies in part with “educating users who download content”.

YouTube makes money from the traffic it generates. This is not innocent of them.

“There might be some kind of pledge that people can sign on downloading. That will discourage some of those who are not professional hackers,” she said.

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What is the responsibility of the platforms? “YouTube has technological tools to detect illegal content,” she said. The platform can therefore be forced to withdraw illegal uploads discovered upstream, or even compensate rights holders. “YouTube makes money from the traffic it generates. It’s not innocent of them.

During a copyright update consultation last spring, the AQPM provided a summary indicating the results of the 2018 study. It estimated that the annual volume of illegal content use in Canada was 31 million music tracks, 12 million movies, 16 million TV shows and 1 million e-books.

Countries have reformed their copyright system to allow rights holders to seek injunction against infringing sites: Australia, European Union, United States. And in Canada? The current law is ineffective in combating online piracy, Helen Messier slides, adding that “the problem has been getting worse over the years.”

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