Anton Piller orders are used when a court believes that evidence in a civil case may be destroyed if normal discovery procedure is followed. (They get their name from a 1975 case in the UK that concerned the theft of trade secrets.) They’re considered an extraordinary legal measure: subjects of the search do not get to defend themselves against the accusations beforehand.Still, they are not criminal search warrants and Lackman did not have to let anybody into his home that morning. But it presented a legal catch-22: if he hadn’t, he would be in breach of a court order and could have been subjected to fines or imprisonment.
It’s as close as you’re going to get in civil law to criminal interrogation and seizure
Shortly after the search, a federal judge ruled the search unlawful in a procedural hearing. The questioning was an “interrogation,” the judge said, without the safeguards normally afforded to defendants, and presenting Lackman with a list of names to snitch on was “egregious.” The plaintiffs also did not make a strong enough case that TVAddons was solely intended to enable piracy, the judge decided.
Read More: Does Canada Even Have a Huge Piracy Problem?
One ray of hope for Lackman is that parallel copyright litigation in the US, brought against him and TVAddons by Dish Network, was recently settled on relatively amicable terms. TVAddons agreed to stop hosting addons that allowed users to stream a handful of specific channels, and will implement an expedited copyright takedown process for Dish Network. Any financial aspects to the settlement are confidential, according to Lackman and spokespeople for Dish.Why can’t a similarly speedy resolution be found and sealed with a handshake in Canada? According to experts in copyright law, there’s a new and major push by industry players in Canada to aggressively quash piracy.In January, the media arms of Bell, Rogers, and Quebecor formed FairPlay, a coalition of dozens of Canadian media entities lobbying the federal telecom regulator—the CRTC—to implement a system for blocking websites serving pirated content in Canada. At the time, the plan was described by digital rights groups as censorship and “authoritarian overkill,” and average Canadians submitted thousands of comments to the federal telecom regulator expressing discomfort with the idea.That proposal was rejected by the CRTC on jurisdictional grounds earlier this month, and the regulator noted that pursuing website blocking with a change to the Copyright Act would be more appropriate.