Supreme Court to hear ‘value for signal’ case

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says it will step into the battle over whether broadcasters can charge cable and satellite providers for carrying their programs.

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says it will step into the battle over whether broadcasters can charge cable and satellite providers for carrying their programs.

The high court has granted leave to appeal in a case that involves whether the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has the right to establish a system that would allow broadcasters to charge for their signals.

The CRTC itself referred the matter to the Federal Court when it announced its plans for a so-called “value for signal” regime.

The Federal Court of Appeal previously ruled in a split 2-1 decision that CRTC had the power to set up such a system.

The cable and satellite industries are appealing the decision.

They argue that the value-for-signal issue falls under the Copyright Act and the royalties system and is beyond the jurisdiction of the CRTC.

“We believe the federal court was correct in finding that Value for Signal falls within the CRTC’s jurisdiction, and we are confident the Supreme Court of Canada will agree when they are presented with the relevant facts and arguments,” said Kevin Crull, president of Bell Media.

“Conventional television stations must have a regulatory framework that allows them to survive on their own merits, regardless of whether or not they are integrated with cable and satellite companies.”