CTV wants the right to prevent you from watching Grey’s Anatomy

As we all know, CTV – and its growing “Local TV Matters” coalition of conventional television broadcasters not owned by telecom companies – doesn’t want the CRTC to impose fees on cable and satellite companies, but wants the power to negotiate fair rates for their signals. In a new TV ad (yes, they made even more of them), CTV literally brings out a table and two chairs and says “we just want to talk”.

In my last blog post on the subject, I was a bit skeptical of this idea. Cable companies have little incentive to carry local stations, and aren’t about to pay for them. Consumers also wouldn’t miss much if those stations disappeared. Most of their programming comes from the United States, and nothing outside of the newscasts is locally produced. And even then, local news and crappy Canadian programming are increasingly available online, where CTV doesn’t charge Canadians directly to watch. (I can only assume from the “Local TV Matters” logic that I am stealing CTV’s programming from its own website).

I pointed out why I don’t think local stations would have much of a bargaining chip at this table, even with the right to pull their signals:

Unless blocking U.S. channels is part of this plan, Canadians could tune into stations from Burlington, and all we’d miss aside from local news are shows like So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Well, it turns out that’s exactly what CTV has in mind. This is what they told the Calgary Herald:

“We need a hammer,” says Sparkes.

For instance, broadcasters say they should have the right, as a negotiating ploy, to pull their signals from cable along with the rights to shows they own in their local markets, such as the popular series House — without cable simply importing the show from an American broadcaster.

In other words, if Videotron and CKMI can’t agree on a fee, CKMI would have the right to demand that Videotron not only be barred from distributing CKMI’s feed, but be forced to black out U.S. stations that carry programming CKMI has rights to, like House, Entertainment Tonight, The Office, 90210 and Family Guy.

This proposition is a scary one for consumers. Canadian broadcasters want the right to block out U.S. broadcasters from cable.

Blackouts are common in cable these days, but they’re never imposed by the CRTC. Instead, they’re usually done because of demands from major sporting leagues who have broadcast agreements with different broadcasters in different markets. In each case, it’s the broadcaster that wants to be blacked out to comply with that agreement.

But this is different. And aside from the unbelievable public outrage CTV’s idea would cause if it was ever invoked, and the dangerous precedent it would set, here’s why I think the CRTC should turn them down on this point:

Canadian rights to U.S. shows are set by contract between the Canadian networks and U.S. networks. The CRTC is in no way involved in these deals, nor should they be. But giving Canadian networks the power to block U.S. stations based on these private contracts means that the CRTC (and cable and satellite companies) would be bound by agreements made between private commercial companies. That’s simply unreasonable.

But then, reason wasn’t a part of this from the beginning, was it?

78 thoughts on “CTV wants the right to prevent you from watching Grey’s Anatomy

  1. Marc

    CKMI would have the right to demand that Videotron not only be barred from distributing CKMI’s feed, but be forced to black out U.S. stations that carry programming CKMI has rights to

    What are they, out of their mind?

    Reply
  2. Soranar

    this little war takes a very weird turn for french programming

    thing is french TV , all 4 free broadcaster (V, TVA, Radio-Can, TVQ) actually have original programming that people watch (1 to 2 million viewers per show)

    unlike english canadian shows

    which makes this war all the more confusing

    Reply
  3. adsf

    there are dozens of sites that people can download tv shows from for free all commercial free
    ctv / global can’t stop this downloading

    Reply
    1. Caroline

      Most people would still rather watch tv shows on their gazillion inches tvs than on tiny little pc/laptop screen. And no, not everyone has the will to always be moving everything around to plug the pc/laptop into the tv

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        Many “gazillion-inch” TVs are already setup to connect to the Internet and play live streaming videos. The technical limitations to this are trivial. And when bandwidth becomes cheap and accessible enough that people can stream HDTV online without a second thought, I think you’ll find a lot of people will have a lot less use for crappy specialty channels with reruns, and then cable itself, and it will be the cable and satellite companies that will start complaining about how “the model is broken”.

        Reply
        1. Vahan

          I download what I can and watch everything on my iPod touch on the metro going and coming from work. I don’t need all those inches.

          Reply
  4. Anonymous

    What’s unreasonable about it? the Canadian broadcasters (such as CTV and Global) purchased the EXCLUSIVE broadcast rights to those programs in Canada.

    This is EXACTLY what happens in the U.S., what the Canadian networks want is a U.S. model, in the U.S. if the local station and the cable company can’t come to an agreement and the signal is pulled. the cable company is not allowed to broadcast an out of market channel that airs programming the local station has the exclusive broadcast rights to.

    This is completely fair, if the cable company doesn’t think CTV or Global’s programming (including American programs they purchased the exclusive broadcast rights to) doesn’t have value then they wont have to carry their programming.

    The American networks don’t buy the Canadain broadcast rights, CTV, Global, ect.. do, if the cable company doesn’t want to carry the local channel, then it’s only fair they black out programming the local station has the exclusive broadcast rights to.

    BTW, this is not some new news, all the networks mentioned it both at CRTC hearings and CRTC submissions, I was surprised that you didn’t already know this, and more surprised after you said you don’t think it’s fair, if you buy the exclusive rights to something, it’s only fair that you are the only channel where they can view the program. That’s why we have simsubs, and that’s exactly what happens in the U.S.

    Besides, we all know that cable/satellite wont decide to drop local channels, you don’t drop your most watched channels.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      What’s unreasonable about it? the Canadian broadcasters (such as CTV and Global) purchased the EXCLUSIVE broadcast rights to those programs in Canada.

      The agreement is between the Canadian broadcasters and the U.S. broadcasters, not the cable companies or the CRTC. The CRTC shouldn’t force cable companies to respect agreements they or the government have no part in.

      Reply
      1. Jim J.

        Well, then. Why should any contract that provides for exclusivity be worthwhile?

        Hypothesize a situation in which a retailer pays for the privilege of being the exclusive retail outlet for Brand X Widgets on the island of Montreal. They may pay a fee to the wholesaler, or possibly to the manufacturer, in exchange for this exclusivity. This is not an atypical arrangement, especially when a manufacturer is attempting to crack a new market.

        Another retailer finds that same product from another source – let’s say, they open a P.O. Box in Champlain, New York and have large quantities of the Widget shipped there, whereupon they return to Montreal and start selling Brand X Widgets…you’re saying that the exclusivity privilege obtained by the first retailer is utterly and completely worthless, and they can just go scratch? That the contract is unenforceable, and utterly worthless?

        Simply because the government isn’t party to a contract between two entities, doesn’t mean that it isn’t enforceable. Under your hypothesis, Verizon Wireless could sell Apple iPhones here in the U.S. without any problem, in spite the exclusivity arrangement that was contractually agreed to by AT&T and Apple. (This makes the assumption that Verizon could find a supply of iPhones, which is unlikely, but the analogy still applies.)

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          In the situation you describe, the first retailer would probably sue the wholesaler for violating the agreement. Either way, it would be dealt with via a lawsuit between private companies, not the government coming in and enforcing a contract it has no part of.

          The AT&T/Apple agreement prevents Apple from selling iPhones to other carriers. It doesn’t prevent people from selling iPhones to each other. The contract binds Apple, not the government.

          Reply
          1. Jim J.

            My retailer/wholesaler analogy posits that the “other” (i.e., non-contracted) retailer locates a source for the goods that is NOT from the wholesaler under contract.

            To apply towards your hypothetical, CKMI has negotiated and paid for an exclusivity agreement for specific content, from the content producer – the same entity, I presume, as the copyright holder.

            You appear to be arguing that Videotron can freely ignore that exclusivity agreement between CKMI and the content producer, simply because they can find another source for the content.

            So, if I’m a content producer and I have licensed my content for exclusive use in a specific geographic area by one broadcaster, then Videotron can just ignore that and pull the content from another broadcaster, who does not have exclusive rights in that same geographic area?

            I’m starting to wonder if there is any cohesiveness at all to your arguments re: copyright and content control and whatnot. If there is, I’m struggling mightily to pin it down.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              You appear to be arguing that Videotron can freely ignore that exclusivity agreement between CKMI and the content producer, simply because they can find another source for the content.

              So, if I’m a content producer and I have licensed my content for exclusive use in a specific geographic area by one broadcaster, then Videotron can just ignore that and pull the content from another broadcaster, who does not have exclusive rights in that same geographic area?

              Yes. Why should anyone be forced to respect an agreement they are not a party to?

              Reply
              1. Heather H.

                You’re so wrong on this, Fagstein. An exclusive broadcast right is just that: exclusive. Redistribute a show which isn’t yours and for which you have no broadcasting right, and you’ll get your ass hauled into court in no time.

                If Walt Disney signs an exclusive distribution right for Mickey Mouse stuff with the CanadianWidget corporation, just watch what will happen if you start selling your own Mickey Mouse with the argument that “you’re not a party to the deal…”

              2. Fagstein Post author

                If Walt Disney signs an exclusive distribution right for Mickey Mouse stuff with the CanadianWidget corporation, just watch what will happen if you start selling your own Mickey Mouse with the argument that “you’re not a party to the deal…”

                In that scenario, the CanadianWidget corporation would sue Disney for violation of their contract, unless I was selling Mickey Mouse stuff without an agreement from Disney, in which case Disney would sue me. In neither case would the consumer protection office step in and pull my products from the shelves of retailers, because that’s not their job.

              3. Jean Naimard

                If Walt Disney signs an exclusive distribution right for Mickey Mouse stuff with the CanadianWidget corporation, just watch what will happen if you start selling your own Mickey Mouse with the argument that "you’re not a party to the deal…"

                Oh yeah? Even if I get my Mikey Moose directly from Disney in the States anyways???
                I don’t think so. Canadian Widget cannot sue me because I don’t have a contract with them. They could try suing Disney, but it’s likely Disney would cut them off if they would do so…

              4. Jim J.

                The answer is simple, and I believe points to a truck-sized inconsistency in your arguments about copyright and content. Either the content creator has the right to license its work (via an exclusivity arrangement, if it deems it proper), and be properly compensated for that, or it does not.

                One assumes that CKMI is licensed by the creator of the content to be the exclusive broadcaster in its geographic territory. It’s not licensed to rebroadcast the content by WCAX in Burlington or WPTZ in Plattsburgh. (That those over-the-air broadcast signals incidentally overlap the Montreal area is immaterial, because we are dealing content distrbuted via Videotron’s cable network, not the capture of an over-the-air signal.)

                Videotron may not be a party to the agreement between CKMI and the content creator, but that doesn’t mean that they can ignore the exclusivity agreement negotiated between the content creator and CKMI. Otherwise, one could make the argument that Videotron is allowing its networks to be used in such a way that it violates the exclusive copyright license negotiated between CKMI and the content creator.

                I’m surmising that WPTZ and WCAX do not have an exclusive licensed right to broadcast content to Montreal, using Videotron’s network (over the airwaves, well, that’s a horse of a different colour), if CKMI has negotiated and paid for the rights to the exclusive rights to that same content. CKMI may choose not to rigorously enforce it, as long as they are broadcasting that same content. But if they choose to exercise that exclusivity, even if they are exercising it by withholding that content from the viewing audience, I don’t see how Videotron can ignore that.

              5. Fagstein Post author

                1. Videotron cable is not a broadcaster. Copyright law doesn’t apply here.

                2. Of course Videotron can ignore an agreement it’s not party to. Under what ridiculous legal precedent would someone be bound to a contract they didn’t sign?

                3. I haven’t read these so-called exclusivity contracts, but I don’t think their wording is what is being implied here.

              6. Jim J.

                So, if I am a photographer and sell my photograph exclusively to the Gazette, and, for example, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, then the Canadian Press should be permitted to just grab it from the Press-Republican’s Web site and make it available to their other Canadian member newspapers – including, let’s say, La Presse – because hey, CP isn’t a party to my agreement with either The Gazette or the Press-Republican.

                I think the point you are failing to see here is that the content creator – the entity that produced the show – has sold exclusivity rights to CKMI, to stick with your example. Once purchased by CKMI, those rights include the right NOT to distribute the show within its defined geographical territory, just as a photographer has the right not to have his/her work disseminated without their consent.

              7. Fagstein Post author

                So, if I am a photographer and sell my photograph exclusively to the Gazette, and, for example, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, then the Canadian Press should be permitted to just grab it from the Press-Republican’s Web site and make it available to their other Canadian member newspapers – including, let’s say, La Presse – because hey, CP isn’t a party to my agreement with either The Gazette or the Press-Republican.

                No, because this is copyright infringement. Cable companies are not bound by copyright in this way. We’re not talking about Videotron stealing content and redistributing it, we’re talking about a cable company distributing the signal of a broadcaster that has a legitimate right to broadcast a television show. WFFF in Burlington has every right to broadcast an episode of House.

                I think the point you are failing to see here is that the content creator – the entity that produced the show – has sold exclusivity rights to CKMI, to stick with your example. Once purchased by CKMI, those rights include the right NOT to distribute the show within its defined geographical territory, just as a photographer has the right not to have his/her work disseminated without their consent.

                Do you have a copy of this agreement? Because I seriously doubt that’s what it says.

              8. Jim J.

                Well, no, I don’t happen to have a copy lying around.

                It is generally acknowledged, I would think, that if you own the right to certain content, that includes the right to withhold its distribution.

                And if I am CKMI, why would I even purchase rights to broadcast certain content if, for example, I have a reasonable suspicion that CFCF could also purchase those broadcast rights? If I’m buying something like television content, why wouldn’t I negotiate some kind of assurance with the content provider that I’m the only outlet on which it is going to be distributed in a specific geographic area?

                And, in your rebuttal of my Gazette/Press-Republican example, how would CP be bound by American copyright law? If they can show that they grabbed the photograph from the P-R Web site, and not the Gazette Web site, then they would be doing precisely what Videotron is doing. (I’m not well-versed in enforcement of cross-border copyright issues, admittedly.)

              9. Fagstein Post author

                It is generally acknowledged, I would think, that if you own the right to certain content, that includes the right to withhold its distribution.

                The Copyright Act has a specific exception for broadcast distribution networks, so as long as the broadcaster has the rights to the content and the broadcaster and cable network are operating legally by CRTC rules, then no you don’t have the right to force the cable network not to distribute the signal, at least under current copyright law.

                And if I am CKMI, why would I even purchase rights to broadcast certain content if, for example, I have a reasonable suspicion that CFCF could also purchase those broadcast rights?

                It probably wouldn’t make sense, which is why you’d sign an agreement that prevents the studio or network from offering rights to CFCF. This has nothing to do with cable.

                If I’m buying something like television content, why wouldn’t I negotiate some kind of assurance with the content provider that I’m the only outlet on which it is going to be distributed in a specific geographic area?

                That would be nice, but it’s probably not feasible. You can’t control the Internet, and you can’t block cable and satellite companies from rebroadcasting distant signals.

                how would CP be bound by American copyright law?

                Canada and the United States have a reciprocal agreement on copyright, which extends to most of the Western world. CP is most definitely bound by it. And again, Videotron is exempt from copyright law in this matter, while CP is not.

              10. Jean Naimard

                It is generally acknowledged, I would think, that if you own the right to certain content, that includes the right to withhold its distribution.

                Well, then don’t distribute it if you don’t want it to be redistributed!
                Canadian Law specifically permits canadian cable operators to capture and redistribute on their networks the US TV signals, and as much as it may seem like copyright infringement, it is not, because the law says so.

              11. Kevin

                WFFF in Burlington has every right to broadcast an episode of House.

                No. WFFF in Burlington has every right to broadcast an episode of House [i]in its geographic territory[/i].
                A cable company in Outer Nowhere does not have the right to grab that WFFF signal and redistribute it to its customers if the local Outer Nowhere network has purchased the exclusive distribution rights to House.

              12. Fagstein Post author

                No. WFFF in Burlington has every right to broadcast an episode of House in its geographic territory.

                Is that what the contract says? Considering WFFF’s signal reaches Montreal, I find it unlikely that this would violate a contract.

                A cable company in Outer Nowhere does not have the right to grab that WFFF signal and redistribute it to its customers if the local Outer Nowhere network has purchased the exclusive distribution rights to House.

                Cable companies are regulated by the CRTC, which has rules for U.S. television signals as well as distant signals. If the company has a deal with WFFF to distribute its signal, then it has a deal to distribute its signal.

      2. Anonymous

        The CRTC regulates what the broadcasters and cable companies can do, so unless your saying that the CRTC shouldn’t have any control of what the broadcasters and cable providers can do, I don’t see how you see anything wrong with them enforcing the Canadain broadcasters exclusive broadcast rights be protected.

        as Jim pointed out, what’s the point of buying the exclusive rights to something if they are not protected? If the cable company doesn’t want to pay to distribute the CTV or Global’s programming, then they shouldn’t be able to distribute it in any way, and that includes American programming they buy the exclusive broadcast rights to.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          The CRTC regulates what the broadcasters and cable companies can do, so unless your saying that the CRTC shouldn’t have any control of what the broadcasters and cable providers can do, I don’t see how you see anything wrong with them enforcing the Canadain broadcasters exclusive broadcast rights be protected.

          The CRTC could also theoretically regulate that Canadian broadcasters never use the colour blue. Just because the CRTC has regulatory power doesn’t mean it can use it to impose something that’s entirely outside of its mandate.

          I think some people arguing for this are treating exclusivity agreements as if they’re some special agreement that somehow should be enforced by the government. The government shouldn’t enforce agreements between two private enterprises unless there is a civil action.

          as Jim pointed out, what’s the point of buying the exclusive rights to something if they are not protected?

          It’s not the CRTC’s job to ensure business contracts make sense. These contracts prevent the U.S. networks from selling rights to other Canadian networks. It doesn’t prevent cable companies or TV viewers from watching the same show on another station.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            The CRTC already does control stuff like this though.

            Why do we get simsubs? Because the Canadain broadcasters have purchased the exclusive broadcast rights to those programs in Canada. It clearly says this on the CRTC website.

            Cable providers don’t perform simsubs because they want to, they do it because the CRTC requires them to. The CRTC requires this because the Canadian broadcasters have purchased the exclusive broadcast rights. So blackouts would be part of the CRTC’s mandate.

            And actually, it’s not the U.S. networks that sell programs to the Canadain networks. The U.S. production companies are the ones that sell the programs, and they sell the Canadian broadcasters the exclusive rights for Canada. Once again that’s why you see CTV’s logo and ads during American Idol when your watching FOX, CTV paid for the exclusive broadcast rights for Canada, simsubbing protects those exclusive rights.

            In the U.S. cable providers are forced to black out programming on out of market channels that the local station has the exclusive broadcast rights to. It’s not like this is some crazy idea the broadcasters came up with, it’s exactly what happens in the U.S.

            Besides we all know that there is no way cable companies are going to pull Canadian locals anyway, programming blackouts (something the Canadian broadcasters have every right to ask for) is just another reason not to pull them, but it’s not the only reason.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Why do we get simsubs? Because the Canadain broadcasters have purchased the exclusive broadcast rights to those programs in Canada. It clearly says this on the CRTC website.

              Well, no. The purpose of simultaneous substitution is to keep advertising revenue in Canada, not to respect any private exclusivity arrangements.

              In the U.S. cable providers are forced to black out programming on out of market channels that the local station has the exclusive broadcast rights to. It’s not like this is some crazy idea the broadcasters came up with, it’s exactly what happens in the U.S.

              But in the case of blackouts (the same thing happens here with sporting events), the blacked-out broadcaster has signed on to the contract, and the blackout is imposed by the programming source, not some third party.

              Reply
              1. Anonymous

                Sorry but your wrong. If you check your facts and go to the CRTC site then you will see that one reason why we have simsubbing is to protect the exclusive rights of Canadian broadcasters.

                And your also wrong with your theory of how blackouts work in the U.S.

                In the U.S. if the local station and the cable provider can’t come to an agreement on a carriage fee, not only is the cable provider not allowed to carry the local stations signal, but they must black out any programming the local broadcaster has the exclusive rights to on other channels. That’s a fact.

                You clearly don’t know how programming is sold. U.S. studios sell the exclusive broadcast rights to Canadain broadcasters, the local American networks DON’T own the broadcast rights for any Canadain market. Once again, that’s why the Canadian broadcasters to simsub, yes an Canadian advertising is an advantage, but exclusive broadcast rights is the reason.

                It doesn’t matter that the cable company was not part of the agreement, it doesn’t give them the right to ignore the exclusive broadcast rights of Canadian broadcasters.

                I normally agree with what you say, and enjoy your blog, but you are just so wrong on in this case. I don’t expect you to know everything about television and how rights are sold, ect.., but i’m kinda annoyed that you are acting like you do. CTV and Canwest have every right to demand U.S. programming blackouts on stations that don’t own the broadcast rights for that market, just as U.S. locals have the right to demand programming blackouts on stations that don’t own the broadcast rights for their markets, something they already do.

              2. Jean Naimard

                I normally agree with what you say, and enjoy your blog, but you are just so wrong on in this case. I don’t expect you to know everything about television and how rights are sold, ect.., but i’m kinda annoyed that you are acting like you do. CTV and Canwest have every right to demand U.S. programming blackouts on stations that don’t own the broadcast rights for that market, just as U.S. locals have the right to demand programming blackouts on stations that don’t own the broadcast rights for their markets, something they already do.

                You don’t seem to understand that canadian cable networks operators are specifically exempted from copyright law recourses when they pick-up an US signal and redistribute it on their networks.

              3. Fagstein Post author

                For those wondering, the text of the Copyright Act spells out infringement in Part 3. Under “exceptions”:

                (9) A broadcasting undertaking, as defined in the Broadcasting Act, may make a single reproduction of a fixation or reproduction made by a programming undertaking and communicate it to the public by telecommunication, within the period referred to in subsection (4), if the broadcasting undertaking meets the conditions set out in subsection (1) and is part of a prescribed network that includes the programming undertaking.

                And later:

                (2) It is not an infringement of copyright for a retransmitter to communicate to the public by telecommunication any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work if
                (a) the communication is a retransmission of a local or distant signal;
                (b) the retransmission is lawful under the Broadcasting Act;
                (c) the signal is retransmitted simultaneously and without alteration, except as otherwise required or permitted by or under the laws of Canada;
                (d) in the case of the retransmission of a distant signal, the retransmitter has paid any royalties, and complied with any terms and conditions, fixed under this Act; and
                (e) the retransmitter complies with the applicable conditions, if any, referred to in paragraph (3)(b).

                In other words, cable and satellite companies are not liable under the Copyright Act for retransmission of signals from licensed broadcasters, however they are still responsible under the Broadcasting Act for things like simultaneous program substitution.

              4. Fagstein Post author

                CTV and Canwest have every right to demand U.S. programming blackouts on stations that don’t own the broadcast rights for that market

                Do they? If so, why aren’t they exercising this right?

                You’re right that the U.S. and Canada operate differently when it comes to regulations for cable companies. The CRTC could enforce simultaneous or non-simultaneous program deletion as part of this fee-for-carriage scheme. But that doesn’t mean it should.

              5. Anonymous

                Why shouldn’t it? If the Canadian broadcasters buy the exclusive broadcast rights to those programs, and the cable company refuses to pay and pulls the channel, why should they be allowed to distribute channels that air that same programming who don’t own the broadcast rights for that market?

                What the broadcasters want is a U.S. model for negotiated value for signal. They want what happens in the U.S., it works great there, why don’t we try it in Canada?

                And i’m also surprised how against this you are. You work at a newspaper right? Well would you think it’s fair for a store to take a newspaper for FREE, sell it to people, and keep 100% of the profits? They can say “We are giving your advertising better coverage by selling it in our store”

                Why should only local Canadian TV stations have to rely on advertising and not newspapers?

                What cable companies currently do is the same thing as a store taking a newspaper for free, selling it, and paying nothing to the newspaper.

              6. Fagstein Post author

                Why shouldn’t it? If the Canadian broadcasters buy the exclusive broadcast rights to those programs, and the cable company refuses to pay and pulls the channel, why should they be allowed to distribute channels that air that same programming who don’t own the broadcast rights for that market?

                Why shouldn’t they be allowed to distribute those channels? Why should a cable company be forced to respect an agreement it hasn’t signed?

                The situation is also a bit more complicated than that. Burlington and Plattsburgh stations consider Montreal to be part of their market. Otherwise, they would be considered distant signals, and the CRTC’s rules provide for compensation to broadcasters for carrying those signals out of market.

                What the broadcasters want is a U.S. model for negotiated value for signal. They want what happens in the U.S., it works great there, why don’t we try it in Canada?

                The U.S. model doesn’t have simultaneous substitution, because U.S. stations don’t for the most part carry Canadian programming. To pretend the two can be regulated the same way ignores the reality of the situation.

                And i’m also surprised how against this you are. You work at a newspaper right? Well would you think it’s fair for a store to take a newspaper for FREE, sell it to people, and keep 100% of the profits? They can say “We are giving your advertising better coverage by selling it in our store”

                The keyword here is “sell”. This whole debate is built on the presumption that cable and satellite companies “steal” and “sell” local TV signals to their subscribers. I’m not convinced this is the case, particularly since broadcasters put their signals over the air for free, because they complain to the CRTC when their signals aren’t carried, and because they celebrate when they are carried. That’s not the standard reaction to theft.

                For your analogy to work, my newspaper would have to be distributed freely, and then someone redistributes it in some way, packaging it with paid newspapers and asking for a fee, including my free newspaper only because the government requires them to. And when they decide not to distribute my free newspaper in their newspaper package, I complain to the government.

                Would I be justified in demanding payment for someone redistributing my free newspaper in this way? I don’t think so.

                Why should only local Canadian TV stations have to rely on advertising and not newspapers?

                This is a good question, though newspapers aren’t regulated by the government. I’m not saying the model isn’t broken, or that broadcasters are in financial trouble. But we need to come up with an economic model that rewards original (and local) programming, and provides for healthy competition in both broadcasting and broadcast distribution. Blaming the cable companies for following the law, or demanding payment simply because they make a profit, isn’t the solution to this problem.

              7. Anonymous

                Even though local U.S. stations don’t carry Canadian programming, they still buy the exclusive rights to U.S. programming for their market only (U.S. networks buy the programming from the production companies) and the local affiliate has the exclusive broadcast rights for that market. Although they may sell advertising and use Montreal in their branding, Montreal is actually outside their official market. They are a distant signal. And Canadian BDU’s are not required to pay distant American locals. And let’s remember that Burlington stations are allowed to negotiate value for their signal with American cable/satellite companies, and if they can’t come to an agreement, the cable company must black out all programming the Burlington station has the exclusive broadcast rights to.

                I just don’t think it’s fair that the only channels not getting paid are local stations, I think if the BDU’s want to include the local stations in their package they should pay for them, if they don’t think their programming provides value (and that includes programming they own the exclusive rights to) then they shouldn’t have to carry the channel and it’s programming.

                I also want to inform you on something you might not know, Videotron’s owner Quebecor, actually supports Value for Signal. In their CRTC submission (submitted on September 14th) they said (and these are not exact words) “Even though we own Videotron we fully support Negotiated fair market value for signals of conventional broadcasters”

                Videotron seems fine with paying for what they take and sell, it’s the other BDU’s that don’t.

              8. Fagstein Post author

                Videotron seems fine with paying for what they take and sell, it’s the other BDU’s that don’t.

                Videotron, TVA and Quebecor in general have stayed out of this debate entirely, supporting neither the Local TV Matters people nor the Stop the TV Tax people. (Rogers, in contrast, has gone the Stop the TV Tax route even though it owns Citytv and OMNI.)

                I just don’t think it’s fair that the only channels not getting paid are local stations, I think if the BDU’s want to include the local stations in their package they should pay for them, if they don’t think their programming provides value (and that includes programming they own the exclusive rights to) then they shouldn’t have to carry the channel and it’s programming.

                Perhaps that is the way it will work. It’ll be up to the CRTC to decide. But I think it’s ridiculous that CTV et al want to “Save Local TV” by threatening to deny us programming it doesn’t even own, on a station that’s not part of its network, because it has no original programming valuable enough to us to use as a bargaining chip.

              9. Anonymous

                Well it wouldn’t make sense for Quebecor to have it’s stations join a campaign that’s bashing cable companies. They are staying out of this in the public, but their CRTC submission clearly states that they want what broadcasters like CTV want.

                You say that CTV,ect.. doesn’t own that programming, well the truth is, they do. They purchased the exclusive broadcast rights for Canada to that programming. CBS doesn’t own the Canadian broadcast rights to Two and a Half Men, CTV does.

                And it’s not like we are even at risk of losing American programming, there is no way the cable companies will ever pull CTV, ect.. and black out American programming, Having the right to demand programming blackouts is just another reason for cable to not pull Canadian channels. It wont hurt the viewer in any way.

              10. Fagstein Post author

                And it’s not like we are even at risk of losing American programming, there is no way the cable companies will ever pull CTV, ect.. and black out American programming, Having the right to demand programming blackouts is just another reason for cable to not pull Canadian channels. It wont hurt the viewer in any way.

                You’re assuming the broadcasters are reasonable in their demands. What if they demand $5 a month per station per subscriber? Would there still be “no way” the cable companies would balk at that? Or, for that matter, consumers?

              11. Fassero

                There seems to be some rather strange notions as to how the U.S. market works. Right off, U.S. stations operate completely different. The overwhelming majority operate under affiliate arrangements. It has to be this way because the FCC imposes tight rules regarding network owned and operated stations as a percentage of total market size. The CRTC has always been far more lenient on this which is why there are now only a handful stations in Canadian that are not owned and operated by the network broadcasters.

                Under the affiliate rules in the U.S., stations are not even obligated to broadcast their own network’s programming. When they do not want to carry the network’s schedule (or parts thereof), they can go out and buy alternative programming (typically syndicate although, in some cases, non-major network programming i.e. CW, My Network, etc.) There is no purchase price for what they carry from their own network. The network simply agrees that, in exchange for the programs, the affiliate will be given a certain amount of time which they can use for themselves or make available to sell local advertising (the networks, to finance their output, sell ad space of their own to advertisers.)

                U.S. networks are also increasingly producing their shows “in house”. In fact, I believe ABC doesn’t have a single prime time property any longer which is not produced by ABC studios or Disney (it’s parent).

                Yes, U.S. stations have carriage arrangements but keep in mind that many of them invest in far more powerful transmitters than their Canadian counterparts and they also know that a significant percentage of TV viewers in the US still do not subcribe to cable or satellite and have the ability to pick up a number of signals, including out of market, through conventional antennas. However, because of the signal consistency that cable and satellite provide, plus demand for specialty and pay services, affiliates very rarely yank their arrangement with the distributor. And certainly no border stations even consider it because they know viewers could simply pick up Canadian signals which, even if they carry U.S. programming, there’s no way to block it. Last I checked, in the U.S. the only stations involved in carriage disputes are with satellite services and are comprised of a couple of rural stations in Louisiana and, if I’m not mistaken, Oregon.

                If you want to emulate the U.S. model, then you have to do it all, not bits and pieces, which is what the “localTV matters” crowd really wants to do. Since U.S. affiliates carry about 95% (or more) domestic programming in the prime time hours, then if Canadian networks think they need carriage fees, let them do the same with Canadian content during the same period. If the CRTC told them this is the way it will happen, let’s sing along to the response of the Canadian network heads: “n-e-e-EH-ver m–i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ind!”

                And if you think “exclusivity” has such great merit, try explaining it to the Canadian arts community, and the media and production guilds, most of whom will argue that the exclusivity protections granted to Canadian networks for these U.S. rights have been almost entirely at their expense (in terms of lost jobs and opportunities.) Canadians aren’t buying this nonsense anyway. When the networks go out and do their non-sensical polls, they should just ask the real question: “do you support saving the dopey morning show that goes on while you’re stuck in traffic, the local news shows which are not even a third local news, and the one hospital telethon per year because the over-leveraged networks need bailout money so Ivan Fecan can still run up fancy dining bills?”

              12. Jean Naimard

                Why shouldn’t it? If the Canadian broadcasters buy the exclusive broadcast rights to those programs, and the cable company refuses to pay and pulls the channel, why should they be allowed to distribute channels that air that same programming who don’t own the broadcast rights for that market?
                What the broadcasters want is a U.S. model for negotiated value for signal. They want what happens in the U.S., it works great there, why don’t we try it in Canada?

                To avoid cable bills increasing by 300-400%, perhaps?

              13. Fassero

                “If you check your facts and go to the CRTC site then you will see that one reason why we have simsubbing is to protect the exclusive rights of Canadian broadcasters”

                Except you conveniently ignore the other two reasons mentioned by the CRTC which are entirely interconnected with the first – “to draw enough advertising dollars” and “to keep advertising dollars in the Canadian market”. The only way those dollars flow in is BECAUSE of those “exclusive rights” to American progamming. The cable and satellite companies are not only forced into providing the simsubbing service – which the Canadian networks need desperately to get ANY ad revenue, but are also barred from selling any specialty TV services to customers without them subscribing to local TV channels first. US providers have nowhere near these kinds of onerous conditions applied on them. Comparing US stations and their relationships with providers is apples vs. oranges. US stations have virtually no foreign programming and thus have no dependence on such for their financial livelihood. Also, because of geographical layout, penetration of cable and satellite services is much lower in the US. Even the most rinky-dink border station in the US hardly worries about ad dollars flowing to the nearest CTV affiliate so they sure as heck aren’t worried about where or when “Corner Gas” runs.

                The Canadian networks are hardly pretending to save local TV as some kind of patriotic issue. If FOX ever announced that they’d run “House” at 6 o’clock, Canwest wouldn’t give a rats patootie how much carriage fees they’d be getting to save the local news all over the place – it would be goodbye 6 pm local newscasts because the CRTC application that would be filed within 9 seconds begging for content rule changes would state just that with the threat of bankruptcy if the regulator doesn’t play along.

                The networks are not trying to save local TV. They are looking for more handout sources to bail out terrible managerial decisions in the acquisitions department and the soft advertising market that even simsubbing is not saving.

              14. Jean Naimard

                The networks are not trying to save local TV. They are looking for more handout sources to bail out terrible managerial decisions in the acquisitions department and the soft advertising market that even simsubbing is not saving.

                Nothing new there. This has been the story of colonial Canada for centuries, starting with Molson whining to the governor to outlaw cider-making because the frogs would not buy his piss-poor beer. If you cannot succeed in business (i.e. you’re too stupid to learn to make cider to cater to people’s needs), pull your political muscle to force people to buy your crap (in Molson’s case, piss, since confirmed by their merger with Coor’s).

              15. Jean Naimard

                There is no language issue here, it’s just a bourgeois subverting the government to force people to buy his wares…

              16. Fellow Sceptic

                Might want to check out a certain Toronto schedule on Thursday, November 26, 2009, for proof of what you say. 3 1/2 hours of local news & information programming, including the evening newscasts, being pre-empted for American Thanksgiving Day football coverage.

                “The Canadian networks are hardly pretending to save local TV as some kind of patriotic issue. If FOX ever announced that they’d run “House” at 6 o’clock, Canwest wouldn’t give a rats patootie how much carriage fees they’d be getting to save the local news all over the place – it would be goodbye 6 pm local newscasts because the CRTC application that would be filed within 9 seconds begging for content rule changes would state just that with the threat of bankruptcy if the regulator doesn’t play along.” – Fassero

    2. Fassero

      Uh, isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

      The major broadcasters don’t have long-term arrangements for US programming. They only get year-to-year deals. If the cable and satellite companies drop them, the networks will lose 85 to 95 percent of the viewing audiences because there won’t be a mad dash back to bunny ears (which even the networks don’t want because it would put the multi-BILLION dollar cost of developing an enhance transmitter system, replete with the bells and whistles to include simultaneous substitions which the providers do on their behalf for free). Without the viewing audiences, they won’t have the $700-million plus a year to buy US programs; heck the won’t have $7.00 because with no audience, and no signal blocking, they got no ad market.

      To compare with what happens in the US in silly. Most US locals are not owned by the major U.S. networks (and virtually none are in the secondary and tertiary markets). More importantly, US networks have virtually no reliance at all on foreign programming. While it’s true that a cable company cannot broadcast an out-of-market signal if a local station can’t come to a carriage agreemeent, the rule does not apply to satellite where the New York and Los Angeles network markets are segregated from the local stations provided throughout the rest of the country (in other words, they have their own package.)

      If CTV suddenly wants to “sit down and talk” with the providers, here’s what I do if I’m the providers: “Carriage fee? Sure. Now, what are you going to pay me to continue providing simulataneous signal substitution and rent for my transmission infrastructure, all of which you derive huge benefits from?” CTV note to CRTC: “remember that carriage fee stuff? Never mind.”

      Reply
  5. Vahan

    As someone who was addicted to T.V. I say let them pull a fit and blackout shows. There are no decent shows to watch anymore on the big 4 U.S networks anyway. It is all reality show junk. I am now hooked on MSNBC from 7 to 10 P.M and then The Daily Show and Colbert Report. So no dancing or big fat losers or people think they got talent for me thank you. How about that E.T Canada there is some great local garbage or that other piece of gossip trash with the ex P.Ms brat. So yeah swing your hammer I need an excuse to shut down my T.V. You are doing me a favour.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The Daily Show and Colbert Report would be affected too. CTV owns the Canadian rights to them. Though it’s an interesting case because it airs on both the CTV conventional network and CTV’s Comedy Network specialty channel.

      Reply
      1. ATSC

        Interesting example! What if they start to group all their channels as leverage. Example…Videotron says no thanks to CFCF. Then CTV says, that’s okay. You can’t have any of our speciality channels if you don’t take CFCF. Interesting mess!

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  6. ATSC

    If anybody had any doubt that this whole CTV mafia “Save Local TV” gang was up to no good, then this should wake you up. This fee for carriage stunt is only the beginning. They have been told several times in the past by the CRTC that this was a no go. But, they refuse to accept the CRTC’s ruling. So now they are using public airways and their licensed stations to send out their propaganda. Pretending to “Save Local TV”. It’s kinda like that old National Lampoon magazine cover. A gun pointed at a Dog’s head with the caption, “Buy this magazine or we’ll shoot this Dog”. Well you know what CTV and company. what if the Dog bites your hand before you shoot that gun.

    I would encourage everybody to send their comment to the CRTC. Their website is set up just for that. You have until Nov. 2nd to file comments to the CRTC.

    Look for item 2009-614 when you get to the site.

    http://support.crtc.gc.ca/rapidscin/default.aspx?lang=en

    Reply
  7. dan

    Sounds good to me. Then we would have truly independent, Canadian media rather than being overwhelmed with trash from across the border. Simsub has turned Canadian channels into low-power repeaters of their American counterparts rather than self-sufficient structures. Countries with much smaller populations than ours (Ireland, New Zealand, etc.) have quality local programming and get to decided the terms of repeating foreign programming (notably not only from the US) on their own terms. Hopefully this plan would mean more programming from the rest of the Commonwealth.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Countries with much smaller populations than ours (Ireland, New Zealand, etc.) have quality local programming

      You mean countries like Québec?

      Reply
    2. Neville A. Ross

      Hopefully this plan would mean more programming from the rest of the Commonwealth.

      Except that most of the material ‘from the rest of the Commonwealth’ (mostly only England and Australia) is the same reality TV stuff that you hate; Europe was the birthplace of reality TV, because the Europeans couldn’t compete with American TV in the creation of programs, budget-wise. The Canadian industry still can’t compete that well (although we are getting there) to produce everything that could replace anything on American TV, and I don’t think that everybody will want to see only TV from the rest of the Commonwealth.

      Reply
      1. Jean Naimard

        and I don’t think that everybody will want to see only TV from the rest of the Commonwealth.

        What is wrong with Top Gear, Dr Who, Coronation Street and Monty Python’s Flying Circus???

        Reply
  8. Kevin

    This whole thing boils down to who has the right to make more money: the creators, or the distributors.

    Legally, the networks have a point. They’ve bought the exclusive distribution rights, and if cable companies violate those rights by broadcasting American signals of the same shows, the cable companies would be in the wrong. In which case the CRTC should be obliged to back up the networks.

    You can even argue that simulcasting sets precedence for this exclusivity.

    Granted, the networks would be making no money if they didn’t rely on cable as a distribution medium, but why should cable companies be allowed to gouge consumers just because they own the cables?

    We went through the same thing twenty years ago when the CRTC forced telephone companies to allow third-party long-distance companies.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      They’ve bought the exclusive distribution rights, and if cable companies violate those rights by broadcasting American signals of the same shows, the cable companies would be in the wrong.

      No they’re not. Unless the cable companies have signed on to a deal, they shouldn’t be punished for not adhering to it, any more than you should be punished because of an agreement I had with some other guy.

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        Because it’s not the same. The CRTC is the national regulator for media, which INCLUDES cable companies.

        By your argument, you couldn’t bitch about your employer hiring a scab if your union goes on strike, because your employer has made a second agreement that doesn’t involve you to perfom the same task.

        The scab didn’t sign the deal, so why should he be punished?

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Because it’s not the same. The CRTC is the national regulator for media, which INCLUDES cable companies.

          Yes, the CRTC regulates cable companies. It does not enforce tort law.

          By your argument, you couldn’t bitch about your employer hiring a scab if your union goes on strike, because your employer has made a second agreement that doesn’t involve you to perfom the same task.

          Labour law is an entirely different can of beans. In Quebec, scabs are banned by government law, not because of a contract. And labour contracts are between the employer and the employees, and so have every right to restrict the employer from violating it by hiring non-union labour.

          Reply
  9. Josh

    The Americans who profit from the deals with Canadian broadcasters (I suppose American networks or production houses) – I wonder what their take is. Do they have a say on which Canadian distributors are allowed to carry their signals? Could they theoretically say to Videotron or Bell or Shaw, “Uh, it’s Global who signs the cheques to carry this programming, not you guys. Therefore, you can’t transmit our signal until you work it out with them”?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Broadcast distributors like Videotron and satellite companies have an exception to copyright law to avoid these kinds of problems. (Otherwise this whole fee-for-carriage thing would be over by now, and CTV and Global would have sued for copyright infringement). Theoretically, the individual U.S. stations that Videotron carries could black out their signals to avoid encroaching on these exclusive broadcast rights, but that doesn’t happen (besides, simultaneous substitution sort of makes that all moot).

      Reply
  10. Marc

    Don’t get me wrong, I support local TV. However, Global is, for the most part, a regurgitator of Fox. If they want all kinds of extra dough to keep being a middleman broadcasting stuff from channels (e.g. WFFF-DT 44.1) that we already get, then screw them. I would support FFC if simsubbing is done away with. This will force Global et al to get their creative mojo going.

    On a related note, I’m surprised the other side (cable lobby) hasn’t come up with all that great a rebuttal besides super-low budget ads and “stop the TV tax!”

    Reply
  11. ATSC

    Here is another interesting situation. Take the Detroit market. US rules indicate that it includes Windsor, ON. So. the Canadian networks exclusivity rights for Canada does not apply. What if the Buffalo market starts to complain, indicates that their Over The Air signal covers all the parts until Hamilton. So, their signal cannot be blacked out. Nor can Canadian stations take US shows and rebroadcast them. Just like Detroit. If CTV & company think they can push people around, they should be careful. The up rise that happened in Ottawa over the WPBS-DT/ WNPI-DT signal being replaced by the cable company lead to a major uproar in Ottawa. Roger’s Cable gave in.

    Reply
  12. ATSC

    Think of Videotron as a newsstand. It carries Local & National newspapers. And the same time it also has newspapers from the USA. Now, some of the Canadian newspapers have articles that they bought from US newspapers. What is the newsstand to do. Flick through the NY Times, and cut out stories that a Canadian newspaper bought from the NY Times.

    This is what these people are asking. I say no way. We are not going to begin down a very slippery road of controlled media. It’s bad enough that we have simsubs.

    Reply
  13. Jim J.

    So I found this….

    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/NEWS/RELEASES/2004/i040130.htm

    It talks about purchasing exclusive rights to broadcast content. I just can’t possibly see how if Party A, a broadcaster, can negotiate exclusive rights to distribute content created by party B, the content producer, then party C, a cable company, can just do whatever the hell they want in relation to that content.

    So, under your line of reasoning, the CRTC fully recognizes that exclusive rights to broadcast content can be purchased (per their Web page above), but not enforced.

    This sounds like a topic that is ripe for adjudication before a tribunal such as the CRTC, or the courts. If such adjudication reached the same opinion that you espouse, I would love to see the tortuous legal reasoning that got them to that conclusion. I can’t see, ultimately, how that wouldn’t completely eviscerate, into the future, any kind of exclusivity arrangement between Canadian broadcasters and American content producers.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I just can’t possibly see how if Party A, a broadcaster, can negotiate exclusive rights to distribute content created by party B, the content producer, then party C, a cable company, can just do whatever the hell they want in relation to that content.

      Well, no, they can’t “do whatever the hell they want”. But if WFFF has the right to broadcast that content, then Videotron can distribute WFFF’s signal to its network (following the CRTC’s rules on simultaneous program substitution). It’s not Videotron broadcasting the content, it’s WFFF. Copyright law doesn’t apply to Videotron in this case, and Videotron isn’t a party to the contract.

      So, under your line of reasoning, the CRTC fully recognizes that exclusive rights to broadcast content can be purchased (per their Web page above), but not enforced.

      It can’t be enforced by the CRTC. At least not under current law and regulations. The CRTC is not bound by contracts it hasn’t signed. Broadcasters can demand simultaneous substitution, but that’s about all they have in terms of rights for stations they don’t own.

      Reply
      1. Jim J.

        OK, so you are conceding, I think, that in the presence of an exclusivity arrangement between a content producer and a Canadian broadcaster, there is legal recourse for either of those parties if a cable company breaches that exclusivity – but that legal recourse comes via the judicial system, not the CRTC.

        I can accept that particular premise as plausible – although I still can’t possibly agree with you on the ultimate determination of the merits of the various arguments.. Working for the judicial system myself, I see all manner of issues get punted to us that no one else wants to deal with.

        In my mind, your entire argument turns on a definition of “exclusive” that is so entirely contrary to the plain meaning of that word, and any reasonable interpretation of a contract that sells “exclusive rights” to disseminate content.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          In my mind, your entire argument turns on a definition of “exclusive” that is so entirely contrary to the plain meaning of that word, and any reasonable interpretation of a contract that sells “exclusive rights” to disseminate content.

          And your argument turns on the suggestion that it’s the CRTC’s job to enforce a contract between two private enterprises. I’m not saying “exclusive” doesn’t mean “exclusive”, I’m saying a contract between two companies can’t bind a third party (or the government), and that I don’t think the wording of these contracts is as absolute as that.

          Reply
          1. Jim J.

            My argument turns on the fact that if a broadcaster (CTV, Global, ec.) purchases, from the content producer, an exclusive right to distribute that content in a given geographic area, then ‘exclusive’ means what it plainly means in the dictionary.

            My argument doesn’t distinguish between whether the CRTC enforces the exclusivity of the contract, or whether a judge in a black robe does it. The CRTC may conclude that they are not the proper forum to adjudicate this kind of dispute. Happens all the time; a governmental quasi-judicial tribunal decides a particular dispute is beyond their purview. Point conceded. That’s why you have a judiciary, over and above the quasi-judiciary.

            I established, via an earlier post, that the CRTC recognizes (per their own Web page) that there exists a right to purchase the exclusive right to distribute content. Your argument, as best I can tell, is that, sure, such a thing exists, but wink-wink, nudge-nudge, it really doesn’t (or shouldn’t, if I correctly comprehend your argument) count for squat.

            I’d almost pay money to see a lawyer trot into a court – a real court, one with judges and lots of wood paneling and whatnot – and argue, in effect, “Yes, your honor, even the governmental entity in charge of regulating the broadcasting and cable industries fully acknowledges that exclusive broadcast rights can be purchased, but I respectfully submit that this court doesn’t have any legal capacity to enforce that contract on behalf of either the seller or purchaser of those exclusive broadcast rights, in relation to third parties.”

            Judges love to be told that they don’t have the legal capacity to do something. That argument, generally, causes their antennae twitch and make them sit up and take notice. Challenging the authority of the court to, for example, enforce a legal contract, is generally not a solid foundation on which to base one’s legal argument.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              My argument doesn’t distinguish between whether the CRTC enforces the exclusivity of the contract, or whether a judge in a black robe does it.

              But CTV et al want the CRTC to enforce this, which is the entire point of my original argument.

              I established, via an earlier post, that the CRTC recognizes (per their own Web page) that there exists a right to purchase the exclusive right to distribute content. Your argument, as best I can tell, is that, sure, such a thing exists, but wink-wink, nudge-nudge, it really doesn’t (or shouldn’t, if I correctly comprehend your argument) count for squat.

              Just because the CRTC acknowledges the reality of the industry doesn’t mean it affords special legal rights on a simple contract and guarantees it will then enforce that contract outside of its mandate. It does “count”, but it doesn’t bind the CRTC because the CRTC is not a party to the contract.

              Judges love to be told that they don’t have the legal capacity to do something. That argument, generally, causes their antennae twitch and make them sit up and take notice. Challenging the authority of the court to, for example, enforce a legal contract, is generally not a solid foundation on which to base one’s legal argument.

              Perhaps you’re still not getting my point. Civil courts can enforce legal contracts between parties to that contract. It cannot tell a third party that two other people signed a contract and now it can’t act in a certain way. That’s not how contracts work.

              Reply
      2. Jean Naimard

        If you recall, some years ago, a web startup started to “rebroadcast” on the web US TV networks without paying them a single farthing.

        It presented itself as a canadian cable operator to avoid copyright retribution.

        It was ultimately nailed when it was discovered that it was a canadian front for a US-based company, and therefore the owner was sued out of oblivion in the US.

        It also got flak for adding it’s own advertising to it’s “repiping” [as, I guess, rebroadcasting US signals on it’s “cable network” ought to be called, especially that the Internet — happy 40th anniversary Internet, by the way — is a “series of tubes” :) ]…

        Reply
  14. Kramer

    95% of Canadians live just clicks from the American border. With new digital broadcasting in the US, border stations come in crystal clear with just a small antenna. With that who needs CTV?

    Reply
  15. Larry Renforth

    These useless twats at Global and CTV need to come up with all their own programming, stop leeching off of American networks, or get off the damn airwaves already!!!

    Reply
  16. Geevis

    1. HOUSE (Global)
    2. GREY’S ANATOMY (CTV)
    3. SURVIVOR (Global)
    4. THE AMAZING RACE (CTV)
    5. CSI (CTV)
    6. CRIMINAL MINDS (CTV)
    7. LIE TO ME (Global)
    8. NCIS (Global)
    9. GLEE (Global)
    10. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (CTV)

    So basically Global has out-hijacked CTV thus far. This calls for a celebration at Global headquarters, complete with Uncle Sam top hats, a singing of the Star Spangled Banner, all while watching a New York Yankees game and eating corn-dogs. Keep up the great original work!

    Reply

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