Mr. Justice John Klebuc of Saskatchewan Queen's Bench has ruled Canadians can legally receive signals from U.S. services such as DirecTV on grey market satellite dishes, despite the government's claims they violate Canadian cultural laws.
He also said ``black market'' pirate computer cards that allow viewers to hack into DirecTV signals for free are not illegal in Canada because the California-based DirecTV does not operate lawfully in Canada.
Judge Klebuc is the highest-ranking judge so far to rule on the contentious issue since the RCMP raided dozens of satellite TV dealers last summer.
``This judge has authority and will be listened to in courts across the country'', said defence lawyer Ian Angus.
The president of an upstart Canadian satellite service said Canadian broadcasters and programmers have spent ``millions of dollars acquiring the rights to programs''.
Greg Walling of Star Choice said: ``Black or grey market infringes on their rights, it's as simple as that.''
Judge John Klebuc's ruling comes in the case against Saskatchewan satellite TV dealer Ron Ereiser, whose Kerrobert Satellite and Cellular store was raided last year.