Skip to main content

Supreme Court rules ISPs not subject to broadcast regulations

“ISPs provide Internet access to end-users," The Supreme Court of Canada said in its ruling."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.”

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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.

Story continues below advertisement

"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.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter