updated 08:25 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012
ISPs don't control content court ruled
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Internet access providers are not broadcasters. The ruling means that Canadian Internet providers such as Bell, Rogers, and Telus can't be forced to carry Canadian content on streams or downloads. It also means that they don't have to make payments into funds that subsidize the creation of local Canadian content.
In its ruling, the court said that an ISP providing access to content, wasn't joining in the "selection, origination, or packaging of content."
The court made its ruling in response to a request by Canada's communications regulatory body, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). If they had been deemed broadcasters, then they would have fallen under the sway of the Broadcasting Act. That legislation was enacted, in part, to prevent Canadian programming from being overwhelmed by shows originating over the border in the US.
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, which had asked that the ISPs be considered broadcasters, was disappointed with the ruling. In a statement, the group expressed concern that the application of the principles underlying the Broadcast Act had been applied in an "inconsistent" manner. [via Reuters]