A win for "net neutrality" in Canada

The FairPlay Canada coalition that includes Bell Canada, Rogers, the CBC and other large media companies suffered a setback in their fight against so-called content pirates on Tuesday when the CRTC said it doesn't have authority to police the activities they want shut down.

The coalition had asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in January to help protect their ownership and licensing rights by setting up an independent agency to help locate websites with pirated material.

The coalition also wanted the CRTC to require internet providers to block access to pirated material.

The CRTC said it agrees ``piracy causes harm to the Canadian broadcasting system and the economy'' but that it didn't consider the proposal because it doesn't have jurisdiction under the Copyright Act.

The federal regulator said there are other bodies in a better position to address the issues raised by the Bell-led coalition.

Bell Canada owns the country's largest telecom network, including residential television and internet services, as well as Bell Media _ which owns the CTV television network, specialty TV channels and production facilities.

Earlier Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal issued a 2-1 split decision in Bell's favour after it argued the CRTC exceeded its authority to enforce a ``wholesale code'' governing producers and distributors of television content.

The CRTC introduced the code in 2015 after extensive public consultations, known as Let's Talk TV, that resulted in a number of reforms for regulated media companies.

The CRTC had introduced the restrictions out of a concern about the increasing market power of vertically integrated companies, such as Bell, that both create programming and distribute it to consumers.

Two of the appeal court judges said in the split decision that the Broadcast Act doesn't give the CRTC the power to enforce its ``wireless code'' while a third judge disagreed on that point.