Canadian Law

Android Box Lawsuit

Canadian electronics and computer retail chains Best Buy Canada, Canada Computers, London Drugs and Staples Canada are being sued by Edmonton, Alberta based Allarco Entertainment 2008 Inc, the people behind Super Channel, alleging these companies sold android boxes that could be used to view their content and violate copyright laws with a software program Kodi.

Kodi is an open source home entertainment software package that enables users to play media on their computers and android devices, that can also be used to download and stream content off the internet.

Allarco Entertainment 2008 Ltd is alleging that these four companies promoted the use of this software on android devices they’ve sold to 50,000 customers in Canada, listed as John Doe on the Statement of Claim filed with the Federal Court of Canada on September 11th, 2019. And the lawsuit is also partially in response to the CRTC’s October 2018 denial of Fairplay Canada’s application to block websites that were identified as providing pirated content.

Unfortunately, the Statement of Claim in Court Number T-1486-19 does not specify if sales of the more mainstream media streaming devices (like Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku) are allegedly implicated, these devices also being compatible with the aforementioned software. But it should be noted that today’s press release on this action appears to only mention “Pirate Devices with Kodi software” and that only some of the 150 employee sales pitches that were filmed by the plaintiffs over 19 months appear to include referrals to services that could assist customers with the installation of the software.

The companies in question have denied the allegations and I suspect they are now promoting sales of the more mainstream devices with Apple TV+, a television and video streaming service that will be officially released on November 1st, 2019, with a monthly subscription fee of $5.99 (or free for a year for Canadians who buy the latest model of the Apple TV media box, iPad or iPhone).

Something To Consider When You Buy

When someone shops around for a new tablet, television or phone they do some comparison shopping that mostly involves the price, features, specifications and warranty coverage. But have you considered how much you would need to pay to get some of those repairs done, in and out of warranty?

Unfortunately some companies don’t allow customers to repair their own purchases, even after the warranty has expires, resulting in either high fees or electronic waste. But Canada is slowly progressing towards a law that would enable consumers to access manuals, parts and instructions on how to to their own repairs.

Bill 72 may have been voted down in Ontario recently but it is expected to pop up in other provincial legislatures. And meanwhile the consumer can keep track of what it costs to repair their purchases, or access ifixit.com for tips and trick on fixing out of warranty products.

An Openmedia Petition destined for Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains is also available, so please consider signing this petition.

Thank you.

Ticketmaster Settles

Ticketmaster L.L.C., TNow Entertainment Group, Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP has agreed to pay $4.5 million dollars to settle the Competition Bureau’s case against them for misleading prices, according to a news release that was issued today by the bureau:

“As part of a consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, the companies will also establish a compliance program to ensure their advertising complies with the law and will implement new procedures to prevent advertising issues in the future.”

The Bureau had concluded that Canadian consumers were paying 20% to 60% more than the advertised price due to fees, which were mandatory. And had decided to sue Ticketmaster and several other associated companies on January 25th, 2018 (PDF).



Ontario Event Ticket Update

The provincial government of Ontario has removed the price cap on resold tickets in that province and increased fines for violators of the Ticket Sales Act, from $10,000 to $25,000.

The prohibitions related to scalper bots remain but the requirement for sellers to disclose the number of tickets they have available has also been removed.

The newly elected government had paused the implementation of the act in July 2018 and had promised consultations.

Click here for the Consumer Protection Ontario site on “Buying tickets to events in Ontario”.

Ticket Sales Act in BC

The Ticket Sales Act was introduced into the British Columbia provincial legislature today, in the to curb abuses in the ticket resale market in that province.

Proposed is a ban on bots that automatically purchase mass amount of tickets to live events and additional transparencies for consumers.

Additional information on Bill 27 – 2019 can be found by clicking here.

Upcoming Changes For Postal Imports From States

Negotiations in-between Canada and the United States has resulted in the doubling of the de minimis threshold to $40.

This means shipments valued under $40 dollars that originate from the states will not be subject to duties or taxes, with another provision calling for duties to be added only to shipments valued at above $150.

Additional details will be added to this entry asap.