Canada's Internet service providers aren't bound by the country's broadcast regulations, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday.
Cultural groups argued that companies such as Bell and Rogers that provide Internet connections to their customers should be considered broadcasters, because they distribute content.
“An ISP does not engage with these policy objectives when it is merely providing the mode of transmission,” the court ruled as it dismissed the challenge.
“ISPs provide Internet access to end-users. When providing access to the Internet, which is the only function of ISPs placed in issue by the reference question, they take no part in the selection, origination, or packaging of content.”
If the court had decided the Internet providers were broadcasting, they could have been subject to levies in the same way video distributors, such as cable and satellite companies, are charged.
The case was raised by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, Canadian Media Production Association and the Directors Guild of Canada and Writers Guild of Canada.
The respondents were Bell Aliant , BCE Inc. , Cogeco Cable Inc. , MTS Allstream Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. , TELUS Communications Company , Videotron Ltd. and Shaw Communications Inc.