Vol. 147, No. 40 — October 5, 2013

Regulations Amending the Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations and the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

Statutory authority

Copyright Act

Sponsoring department

Department of Industry

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issue

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

As of August 31, 2011, Canadian local, over-the-air television stations in most cities stopped broadcasting in analog and started broadcasting digital signals as mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The current Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations (the Regulations), made under the Copyright Act (the Act) refer to a specific engineering formula to determine whether the signal is “local” or “distant.” When free over-the-air television signals are retransmitted by cable or satellite services, only distant signals trigger a copyright royalty. With the transition to digital signals, the formula has become outdated.

Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

In addition, amendments need to be made to the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations to correct a translation oversight that occurred in the context of amendments published on May 17, 2005. The Regulations were amended for several purposes, including for consistency of terminology. Prior to the amendments, the Regulations referred interchangeably to “système(s) . . . par fil” and “système(s) . . . par câble” when referring to cable systems. The change at the time was to ensure that all references in the French version would be only to “par fil.” The Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations has identified one instance where the change was not made.

Background

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

Under section 31 of the Act, retransmitters, such as cable and satellite television companies, are required to pay copyright royalties to rights holders (e.g. producers of programming) when they retransmit “distant” (i.e. not “local”) over-the-air television signals. The Regulations define what constitutes a “local” and “distant” signal. The determination is based on whether or not a particular signal falls within a prescribed range from the point of transmission. For analog signals, the range is currently defined as the Grade B contour + 32 km. The “Grade B Contour” is an engineering calculation used for spectrum management purposes by Industry Canada.

Objectives

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

The primary objective in amending the Regulations is to ensure that the current retransmission framework is extended to the digital environment, maintaining the existing balance and policy whereby the retransmission of local signals is exempt from copyright liability.

Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

The amendment to the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations is to address a minor translation oversight, which was raised by the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Description

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

With the advent of digital signals, the industry standard is now to reference Industry Canada’s Noise-Limited Bounding Contour (NLBC) as the official contour for digital signals. The NLBC, which in digital broadcasting is considered to be the closest equivalent of the Grade B Contour, is the standard the CRTC adopted following an extensive consultation process in the summer of 2010. The CRTC’s Broadcasting Distribution Regulations were subsequently amended to reference the NLBC as the official contour for digital signals.

The proposed amendments modify the current Regulations by clarifying the “area of transmission” for an over-the-air television station in regard to an analog and digital signal. For a digital signal, the proposed Regulations add the NLBC + 32 km. The proposed reference to the NLBC is static.

In regard to the digital signal, the proposed amendments to the Regulations include the NLBC and its technical parameters, as determined in the document entitled BPR-10 — Application Procedures and Rules for Digital Television (DTV) Undertakings, Issue 1, published by the Department of Industry in August 2010, and the area within a radius of 32 km from that contour. This document is available at the following Industry Canada Web site: www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/vwapj/bpr10-i1.pdf/$FILE/bpr10-i1.pdf.

Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

The amendment would replace, in the French version of the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations, the remaining references of “câble” with “fil”.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this proposal, as there are no anticipated costs to small business.

Consultation

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

Preliminary consultations held in the summer of 2012 have indicated the following stakeholders’ views.

Canadian cable companies, and collectives that represent Canadian rights holders, including broadcasters and content producers, support the NLBC + 32 km because it represents the closest digital equivalent to the existing definition, Grade B + 32 km.

A collective that represents American rights holders groups supports using only the NLBC because, in its view, the 32 km radius is no longer applicable in the digital environment.

Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

Consultations were not required in relation to this minor corrective amendment.

Rationale

Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations

It is a priority for the Government to ensure that the Act and the Regulations continue to be effective marketplace framework tools in the digital environment.

The proposed NLBC + 32 km definition would support a framework that is the closest digital equivalent to the existing retransmission regime. Accordingly, the point beyond which signals are no longer deemed “local” will continue to be defined as the contour (Grade B or NLBC, its closest digital equivalent) and the area within a radius of 32 km from that contour.

Precise information on the potential impact is not available at this time, but in the context of a preconsultation process that took place in the summer of 2012, stakeholders have indicated that the impact would be minimal as the NLBC is the closest equivalent to the Grade B contour.

Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations

The change will ensure consistency between the French and the English versions of the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations.

Contacts

Anne-Marie Monteith
Director
Copyright and Trademark Policy Directorate
Department of Industry
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H5
Telephone: 613-952-2527
Email: LSDSconsultationsSLSE@ic.gc.ca

Lara Taylor
Acting Director
Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch
Department of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5
Telephone: 819-934-8963
Email: LSDSconsultationsSLSE@ic.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to paragraph 31(3)(a) (see footnote a) and subsection 68.1(5) (see footnote b) of the Copyright Act (see footnote c), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations and the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations.

Interested persons may make representations within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice

  • (a) with respect to section 1 of the proposed Regulations, and all such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ and the date of publication of this notice and be addressed to both Anne-Marie Monteith, Director, Copyright and Trade-mark Policy Directorate, Department of Industry, 235 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5 (tel.: 613-952-2527; email: LSDSconsultationsSLSE@ic.gc.ca) and Lara Taylor, A/Director, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5 (tel.: 819-934-8963; email: LSDSconsultationsSLSE@ic.gc.ca); and
  • (b) with respect to section 2 of the proposed Regulations, and all such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ and the date of publication of this notice and be addressed to Anne-Marie Monteith, Director, Copyright and Trade-mark Policy Directorate, Department of Industry, 235 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5 (tel.: 613-952-2527; email: LSDSconsultationsSLSE@ic.gc.ca).

Ottawa, September 27, 2013

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE LOCAL SIGNAL AND DISTANT SIGNAL REGULATIONS AND THE DEFINITION OF “SMALL CABLE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM” REGULATIONS

LOCAL SIGNAL AND DISTANT SIGNAL REGULATIONS

1. Paragraph 1(a) of the Local Signal and Distant Signal Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

  • (a) in respect of a terrestrial television station
    • (i) for an analog signal, the area within the predicted Grade B contour of the station, as determined in accordance with the method set out in the schedule, and the area within a radius of 32 km from that contour, and
    • (ii) for a digital signal, the area within the noise-limited bounding contour of the station, as determined in accordance with the document entitled BPR-10 — Application Procedures and Rules for Digital Television (DTV) Undertakings, Issue 1, published by the Department of Industry in August 2010, and the area within a radius of 32 km from that contour;

DEFINITION OF “SMALL CABLE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM” REGULATIONS

2. Subsection 3(2) of the French version of the Definition of “Small Cable Transmission System” Regulations (see footnote 2) is amended by replacing “câble” with “fil”.

COMING INTO FORCE

3. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅱ.

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