CNet News Briefs
Monday, February 10, 1998

Price Costco settles over DTH

Price Costco, one of Canada's largest retailers, has agreed to stop selling American DTH satellite dishes immediately, a settlement action in a landmark battle launched by four Canadian broadcasters.

The retailer has reached a confidential settlement with TMN Networks Inc, Family Channel, WIC Premium Television Ltd., and ExpressVu, one of the two licenced Canadian DTH services.

The Federal court issued an injunction February 4 against Price Costco to prevent it from taking part in grey market activity, including the supply of illegal programming. The legal lines were drawn around whether Canadian retailers could import unauthorized U.S. television programming by selling dishes that were designed solely to receive those signals.

Exclusive Canadian rights for that programming has already been contracted and paid for by Canadian broadcasters and distributors.

In June 1997, the Federal Court of Canada ruled against the sale of the dishes and programming decoding. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling a few months later.

ExpressVu and Star Choice both have programs to provide consumers who turn in illegal dishes with a free programming credit, which can be as much as the cost of the Canadian dish.

"As for the Canadian broadcasting industry, the ruling means that unfair competition will no longer be permitted for a de facto U.S. broadcasting industry, operating without rules or regulations, right in Canada", said Luther Haave, vice president and general manager of WIC.

Price Costco is one of several defendants in the battle.

Copyright © 1998 by Rogers Multi-Media and CNET, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.