Government of Canada Takes Serious Action Against Satellite Piracy

OTTAWA, October 22, 2003 – Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, and Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today tabled a bill in the House of Commons to amend the Radiocommunication Act. The bill is the latest step in the fight against satellite piracy.

The amendments seek to improve Canadian importation control over illegal radiocommunication equipment, increase penalties to act as a more effective deterrent, and strengthen the broadcasting industry's right to civil action by providing the option of seeking statutory damages.

"With this bill, the Government of Canada is taking action needed to protect investments made by the broadcasting industry, as well as the integrity of the broadcasting system as a whole," said Minister Rock. "With today's action, we are sending the signal to dealers of illegal direct-to home satellite equipment and services that their days of harming Canadian broadcasting are coming to an end."

"The Canadian broadcasting industry needs these amendments to the Radiocommunication Act,quot; said Minister Copps. "If not for direct-to-home satellite piracy, there would be hundreds of millions of additional dollars poured into the Canadian broadcasting system to make Canadian programs, to expand distribution capacity and access to foreign–language services, and to offer new digital, high–definition and interactive services to Canadians."

This action follows the April 2002 Supreme Court Decision in the Case of Bell ExpressVu vs. Richard Rex, which confirmed that Section 9(1)(c) of the Radiocommunication Act protects both Canadian and foreign signals from unauthorized decoding. Following this ruling, the government pledged to work with law enforcement agencies and the broadcasting industry in order to stop the sale and distribution of devices used to decode encrypted direct–to–home satellite signals without authorization.

For more information, please contact: 

Mylène Dupéré
Office of Allan Rock
Minister of Industry

Sonya-Kim St-Julien
Office of Sheila Copps
Minister of Canadian Heritage

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