Canadian Supreme Court: CRTC Lacks Authority to Impose Retrans
In close decision, court says it would also conflict with copyright law
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/13/2012 12:11:22 PMimpose a local station retransmission consent regime on Canada's cable and satellite operators.
In a decision handed down Thursday, the court ruled that the CRTC could not use its general regulatory authority to impose the specific requirement that MVPDs negotiate retransmission consent payments with broadcasters for retransmission of local stations.
"The provisions of the Broadcasting Act, considered in their entire context, may not be interpreted as authorizing the CRTC to implement the proposed value for signal regime," the court said.
CRTC in 2010 tried to establish a retrans regime similar to that in the U.S., where broadcasters could negotiate for payment and would have the right to deny retransmission if an agreement was not reached.
Not surprisingly, cable operators there objected, saying it conflicted with provisions in Canada's copyright Act. CRTC referred the matter to an appeals court, which upheld its authority saying no copyright conflict existed. Operators appealed again and the Supreme Court Thursday sided with them.
"Reading the Broadcasting Act in its entire context reveals that the creation of such rights is too far removed from the core purposes intended by Parliament and from the powers granted to the CRTC under that Act," said the court. "Even if jurisdiction for the proposed value for signal regime could be found within the text of the Broadcasting Act, the proposed regime would conflict with specific provisions enacted by Parliament in the Copyright Act."
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