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Canada ISPs Not Subject To Content Rules, Court Says 84

silentbrad writes "Upholding a 2010 decision from the Federal Court of Appeal, the country's highest court said ISPs cannot be subject to the Broadcasting Act of 1991 because they have no control over the content they distribute. The ruling ends a years-old dispute over whether ISPs that deliver movies and television shows over their networks should be regulated as conventional broadcasters as well as telecommunications providers. A cultural coalition made up of several Canadian media industry groups — including the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and others — argued ISPs should be required to help pay for the production of made-in-Canada music, films and television. Conventional broadcasters, of which Bell and Rogers already qualify, have long been required to do so by law."
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Canada ISPs Not Subject To Content Rules, Court Says

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  • Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:20PM (#39008001)
    I really don't want to sponsor that crap anyway. I loathe it when Canadian channels feel the need to shove that crap down our throat and make a big deal about which show is Canadian or which star/band is Canadian. Maybe I'd resent it less if they didn't play up the distinction so much. Canadians used to make fun of american advertisements which said "America's favorite ____" or "America's #1 _____" because it seemed like *everything* was considered #1 in America, it was just slapped on to anything where it would apply. Now the same cliche is being applied to everything in Canada and it smacks of opportunism. If you want to get my attention, just make a good product and don't try and make everyone think it's special just because it's from the country in which they reside. That's just incidental, and it just makes you look arrogant if you believe something is better just because it's local. Everything should be judged on an equal level.
  • Great ruling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:39PM (#39008123)
    I am sick of having my "Culture" dictated to me from Ontario. Canada has thousands of cultures. But in summary our culture is primarily a mix of British and American. Just check out our spelling and pronunciation. So a mix of British and American content serves me just fine.

    The worst part of the Can Con crap is that it suffers the problem of any single source of wealth. A tiny few have mastered draining this well before anyone else can get a taste. Then they pump out some crap starring Gordon Pinsent or some other Canadian "No-fail-mainstay". I am not sure is the worst Canadian genre: when Torontonians try to imitate sophisticated New Yorkers, when they are covering "important issues" such as Indians or gay kids being bullied, or some depressing crap about some salt of the earth town that has collapsed resulting in domestic abuse and drinking. The Canada of most Canadians is none of the above. I strongly doubt that Canadians download hardly a lick of anything made in Canada about Canada. But that is not to say good stuff isn't made here. Stargate, battlestar galatica, and the x-files were all made here but they weren't aimed as Canadian Content. They were just smart people making good shows. No internet tax required.
    Then there is our public radio CBC. Some of it is great but nearly every show is regularly interrupted while they showcase some band that would have trouble getting a gig at a shady nightclub.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @08:41PM (#39008487)

    You should just move to US. It'll be much easier for you to kiss their ass... There's nothing wrong with can-con, it protects us partly from the load of stinking soul-less shit that those money-grubbing bullies south of the border try to shove down our throats. Can-con for the internet would be very wrong, but our culture definitely needs protection because of our geographic position.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @08:58PM (#39008591) Homepage Journal

    Before you bitch too much about supporting the CBC and other Canadian content, consider this:

    The fact that Canadian consumers of media and tax payers pay a significant share of the production costs of Canadian media has a great deal to do with why the general public in Canada has a right to copy, backup, and otherwise consume media they own.

    The very fact that we are allowed to OWN media stems in part from the fact that we pay for part of it, even if we don't buy a copy of a particular finished product.

    We would not have the liberal copyright laws in Canada that we do were it not for Can-Con funded at public expense.

    Although the ISPs should not be subject to trying to provide any particular percentage of Canadian content in a global web environment, I don't think the content creators are being unrealistic or unfair if they expect the ISPs to pay a portion similar to what cable providers pay to fund Can-Con.

    The content producers are right: It's the traditional "Canadian Way."

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:01PM (#39008603) Homepage Journal

    Just to clarify:

    Historically, Canadian broadcasters had to have a certain minimum percentage of Canadian content in their broadcasts. That's what we can't expect ISPs to deliver, because they have no control over what content their subscribers choose to view, download, or transmit.

    But paying a percentage of revenue into the national funding pot the same as broadcasters do is not at ALL unreasonable, as a significant chunk of the content the ISPs stream IS Canadian content that they should pay a share to fund. CTV, CBC, Global, etc. all have web streaming services that the ISPs carry into Canadian homes, and they should pay their tithe like any other content distributor.

  • Re:Thanks Canada (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RandomAvatar ( 2487198 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:08PM (#39008639)
    Actually, having U.S. satellite dishes in Canada was made illegal (what was it? 10 years ago? I can't remember) because U.S. broadcasting corporations were accusing Canadians of stealing content. In order to comply with their complaints, and to make sure that U.S. corporations that sell these services in Canada follow Canadian law, they made it illegal.

    I actually agree with this decision as it takes FOX news out of Canada for being a "news channel" but lying during the news.
  • Re:Thanks Canada (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:26PM (#39008707) Homepage

    Cancon made it illegal, because they couldn't simulcast. No content control, means they restricted the sales.

    You know it's funny, for all the hate that people have for Fox. If you look at their stats on things like Sirius, and media stats they're more popular than any other broadcaster in Canada. By the way, I was part of the group that got Fox News in Canada, and also got the time restriction removed from CTV|Newsnet. Because whatever you belief, broadcast whatever the hell you want. If you don't like it, turn the damn channel or dispute it based on facts.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wrook ( 134116 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:58PM (#39008833) Homepage

    The difference between a cable TV service and an ISP is that the cable TV service chooses which content to carry. The ISP does not. Even though they physically carry the streaming data, they don't actually stream it themselves. CTV, CBC, Global, etc do. Those streaming services should pay. And they do already.

    Adding another fee for ISPs is an interesting idea, but it is essentially a new levy. As a consumer that would ultimately have to pay that levy, I want something in return. The internet is more than a broadcasting medium. In fact, I barely use it for that purpose (although Slashdot might qualify). Similar to the levy on blank media for sound recordings, if I'm going to pay the levy (whether I consume the media or not), I want concessions. Allowing private copying for said media would be appropriate I think.

    Ha ha ha. OK... I couldn't keep a straight face while typing that. I'd love to see the lobbyists' faces if they were told that was the price of opting in ISPs.

  • Re:Thanks Canada (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:48PM (#39009027) Homepage
    But it removes the choice from the consumer. Maybe some of us want to watch the US commercials. Especially during events like the SuperBowl. I to get ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX and a bunch of other US networks on my TV. I want those channels to come through unaltered.
  • Re:Thanks Canada (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Sunday February 12, 2012 @03:34AM (#39009857)

    Actually, having U.S. satellite dishes in Canada was made illegal (what was it? 10 years ago? I can't remember) because U.S. broadcasting corporations were accusing Canadians of stealing content. In order to comply with their complaints, and to make sure that U.S. corporations that sell these services in Canada follow Canadian law, they made it illegal.

    It wasn't US broadcast corps. Sure Dish and DirecTV were angry about people stealing content and thus made things like leased boxes (you must return the box), as well as various smartcard tricks that change the authentication and encryption systems. But those applied more to the US subscribers.

    The reason why US satellite dishes are illegal in Canada is because Bell went to sue all the Canadian US dish providers. These companies were providing services that allowed Canadians to purchase US satellite dishes and receivers, and providing the necessary services to activate them legitimately. These grey-market dishes were what Bell was suing about - seeing all those subscribers that didn't want their service.

    Once Bell obtained their injunction (happened around 2007-2008), Dish and DirecTV then began proceedings against these grey-market providers to discontinue service (yes, they wanted people who were paying for the service to not receive it anymore).. This happened in early 2009.

    As for legality - it's questionable. Should someone be able to purchase a service from another country if there's a method to get that service? I mean, we moan and groan when some internet TV or radio station becomes "country only" and refuses to sell service outside that country. But if using a VPN service lets you get access to that service - should it be legal? It's the same for grey-market satellite TV, and also applied to other US-only services like TiVo, satellite radio (until Canada approved it), and still does to US Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.