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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Grey' satellite dishes illegal: top court
CTVNEWS.com Staff

Fri. Apr. 26 2002 10:11 AM

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that so-called "grey market" satellite dishes that pick up foreign-based satellite signals break a federal broadcasting law.

The judgment is a victory for Canadian satellite providers, such as Bell ExpressVu, and will likely lead to an eventual ban on the dishes owned by almost half a million Canadian homes.

The court ruled in a 7-0 ruling Friday that the U.S.-based satellite providers violate the Radiocommunication Act that outlaws unauthorized decoding of an encrypted signal.

But the court left it up to the providers to make a case in court that the law violates freedom of communication, guaranteed under the Charter of Rights.

The "grey market" providers sell American satellite TV services and decoder equipment directly to Canadians. Bill McKenzie Bell ExpressVu told CTV's Mike Duffy his company estimates that the providers take away about $500 million a year from Canadian distributors.

The main defendant in the case was a company called Can-Am Satellites. The company supplies its customers with a U.S. address, and with other services, so the customer can subscribe and pay for programming that originates from U.S. DTH broadcasters.

Bell ExpressVu argued that Can-Am's activities interfere with its business, since Can-Am customers are unlikely to subscribe to Bell ExpressVu's service.

Can-Am owner Richard Rex maintains his company is doing nothing wrong.

"Bell has already wreaked havoc on my business and the expense to continually fight them is beyond my means," Rex said in December, when Bell announced it would appeal a lower court ruling to the Supreme Court.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Its a sad day.

This means you Canadians can expect the RMCP knocking on your door soon if you have a DirecTV or Dish Network dish on your property.

I am not happy with this ruling. (And I am not even Canadian!)
 

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Should we expect to see an American crackdown on grey market Canadian DBS systems in response? Lookout Metro, the FCC really might be coming for your BEV dish!
 

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I doubt there will be a crackdown on grey market
systems on this side of the border but never say never.
How dare someone attempt to watch what they want to
watch in the privacy of their own homes! (Heavy on the
sarcasm.)
 
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The Supreme Court of Canada decision came down in favor of the content copyright holders.

In practical terms, this means Dish and DirecTv are outlawed in Canada whether or not the homeowner was stealing or paying for service.

It means that BUD C/ku owners can buy only encrypted programming for services that hold Canadian copyrights or licences. For example; the Superstations, A&E, CNN, TLC are okay
MSNBC, Discovery, Court TV will not be because they have assigned their Canadian rights to Canadian companies. HBO/Showtime/Starz etc will not be allowed because they hold no Canadian rights.

Of course, the Supreme Court abdicted any judgement under the Canadian Charter of Rights because they want to ensure that they have future cases to hear on this issue - good job security for them, I guess.
 
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Unlicensed providers selling decoders for foreign-based satellite signals are breaking a federal broadcasting law, says Canada's top court. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 7-0 Friday that such businesses do violate the Radiocommunication Act that outlaws the unauthorized decoding of an encrypted signal.


The judgment is a victory for Canadian satellite giant Bell ExpressVu which is suing a small British Columbia satellite provider.

However, the high court left it up to the so-called grey-market satellite providers to make a strong case in court that the federal law violates freedom of communication guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 

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Since I've followed this case prior to the Supreme Court of Canada appeal hearing, a couple of points of clarification, Scott:

Your assertion that it's up to the "providers" to make a case in court that Canada's Radio-Communications Act violates Canadian Charters of Rights and Freedoms provisions is in error if by, "provider", you're referring to Bell ExpressVu and/or Star Choice. They're not involved in that argument at all. It's the gray market and/or hacking interests who must make that case if they wish further Supreme Court of Canada consideration to invoke the Court to vacate its ruling of today. It'll have to start in the lower courts and work its way up. Years. By the way, Rex's counsel for the Supreme Court of Canada hearing on December 4, 2001 was paid by contributions openly solicited on the internet by Canada's hacking community over a more than two year period to prepare for this case. They well understood the ramifications of this case if Bell ExpressVu won. (As has just happened.) They were trying to raise $100,000.00 for Alan D. Gold's (the respondents' counsel) fee. Despite an intense effort, they maxed at around $50,000.00 I believe. Mr. Gold accepted it in lieu of his expected fee. Fifty grand for a thirty minute presentation isn't chicken feed and Gold wasn't so stupid to walk away from it. Richard Rex had no out of pocket expenses in this Supreme Court appeal brought by Bell ExpressVu. His original case in B.C. now goes back to the Provincial Court presiding judge under continuation rules now. I've got a feeling he'll be on his own now.

Since this ruling determines that "unauthorized" signals do intrinsically hold "value", this decision affects both gray market AND black market reception of U.S. signals. (And CanAm Satellites provided equipment for both.)

William (Bill) Kenneth McKenzie is not one of the principals of Bell ExpressVu as your summary seemed to imply. However, he is Bell ExpressVu's lead counsel and has been involved in most provincial cases previously brought by the company against hacker-dealers and gray-market brokerages. Mr. McKenzie is accredited to argue before the Supreme court of Canada, and it was he who presented Bell ExpressVu's appeal arguments before the Court on December 4, 2001.
 

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Originally posted by dlsnyder
Should we expect to see an American crackdown on grey market Canadian DBS systems in response? Lookout Metro, the FCC really might be coming for your BEV dish!
Interesting question. There probably has not been sufficient interest by Americans who gray-market subscribe to the Canadian services that the U.S. providers are even remotely alarmed at subscribership losses. But, since Bell ExpressVu's arguments centered on copyright issues, Canada might just request reciprocity from the U.S. to begin prosecuting at least U.S. address brokerages dealing in gray market Canadian DTH subscriptions. There is, after all, that "pesky" Digital Millinneum Copyright Act . . . I doubt that the U.S. providers would offer any arguments against such a request. :) This decision presents the U.S. providers with a possible windfall to nip a potential future problem in the bud at virtually no expense to themselves.

Lost in all this is what I would like to see. Wouldn't it be nice if some sort of government-to-government treaty could be ironed out that would allow cross-border subscriptions? But, realistically, it ain't gonna happen. Canada's concerned (probably justifiably) about its fledgling domestic DTH services being creamed by the competition. Sad for viewers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So does this mean if I love in the USA but go on vacation for a month in Canada and bring my DIsh Network setup that I am breaking the law?

What about my XM Satellite Radio? Its not available for sale in Canada, if I drive in Canada with my XM radio on am I breaking the law?

And what about the Snow Birds that live in the US for part of the year and Canada for the other part of the year?

These are things that need to be answered.
 
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Originally posted by Scott Greczkowski
So does this mean if I love in the USA but go on vacation for a month in Canada and bring my DIsh Network setup that I am breaking the law?
Yes

What about my XM Satellite Radio? Its not available for sale in Canada, if I drive in Canada with my XM radio on am I breaking the law?
Yes

And what about the Snow Birds that live in the US for part of the year and Canada for the other part of the year?
What someone does in the United States has nothing to do with Canadian law
 
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Originally posted by Dave Johnson
This is turning into Black Friday for me as Dishnetwork`s signal is way down or nothing and now the Supreme Court ruling. I`d better be quiet as bad news always comes in 3`s.
Well the fix was certainly in on this one. Corrupt Supreme Court in Canada.

If you read the paragraph in which the Supreme Court remarks as to what was the scope of the intent of the legislatures, who passed this pre DBS law, was - you will see that is an outright law. Indeed the Progressive Conservative members, who were the governing party at that time, claim that this was not their intent.

It's one thing when politicans are corrupt, that's the expected normal behavior in this day & age; But the Supreme Court of Canada - a disgrace to the legal community. WE NEED US TROOPS IN CANADA TO HELP US OVERTHROW THE COMMUNISTS.
 

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Originally posted by Canada - renamed CUBA North today WE NEED US TROOPS IN CANADA TO HELP US OVERTHROW THE COMMUNISTS.
No-no-no-no-no-no-no . . . The last time we mounted a military expedition into Canada, in 1812, we got the White House sacked and burned for our trouble.
 
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copied from a Canadian forum

"At times like this, one cannot be faulted for blaming government officials for this nonsense. After, Chretien in his brillant style of do nothing governing, was consistent - he did nothing. Tried to enforce signal receiving rules in a DBS world with pre DBS laws.

But let's look at history. Specifically the 1991 Radio Telecommunications Act. It is an illusion to think that the piracy issues of that time were addressed by that legislation.

In the late 80's, satellite meant BUD C/Ku. US cable programming suplliers used VCII encryption. It was easily hacked. The manufacturer of the decoder, General Instruments, made a fortune selling units into this type of marketplace. They sold at least 200,000 into Mexico and 400,000 into Canada when neither country had any VCII services to sell. (For some idiotic reason, First Choice adopted VCII long after it was hacked)

Commercial establishments, especially Sport Bars, set up multiple 10 foot dishes to get out of market sports events.

What brought it to an end? It was NOT the legislation. It was the introduction of the secure VCII+; area blackouts of sports events, plus enforcement of programming licences at commercial establishments. Yes, the pressure was on G.I., by content copyright holders, to fix the problem or else. When Canadian BUD owners found how much subscriptions to HB0/Showtime and the other 70 or 80 services cost - well most said "so much for that."

The scenario, DBS in the late 90's and early 21st century is exactly the same. This time there is not one culprit but rather 5 - DirecTv; NDS, Nagravision, Echostar and Expressvu.

Not only have their insecure systems cost copyright holders tens of millions in lost revenue; they have cost the taxpayers of Canada and US uncounted millions in law enforcement and justice system costs. They should be hauled into civil courts in both Canada and the US and forced to pony up.

For you naysayers reading this, let's look at a local small business case. Pretend for the sake of this that you own a small business in a business park. If your alarm/security system is below standard, and your business is broken into many more times than your neighbours; then you are going to hear about very quickly from both your insurer and local law enforcement. Ignore it and - boom your insurance is history; you pay for all the losses yourself.

This is exactly the case, with the above 5 companies - their systems are insecure, it's their responsibility to pay to fix - they have known about it for years - and they should bear all costs"
 
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If I rent myself a PO Box in the USA....

If I pay legally for the service....

Than I guess there is no way from the Canadian Government to prevent me from
watching DIRECTV. Especially since I wouldn't go through a canadian company
that offers me the PO Box service. (I believe that all companies who sell
the PO Box service for DIRECTV will probably get severe fines from the
Canadian government)

RIGHT?
 
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