Canada: Beef up satellite-theft laws

Gov't. wants to raise fines from $19,000 to $153,000

TORONTO — The Canadian government asked Parliament Wednesday to toughen penalties for satellite signal theft.

It wants to raise fines from C$25,000 ($19,000) to $153,000, make provisions for statutory damages in civil suits and ban importation of unauthorized equipment.

“I don’t think it goes as far as we would like, but it’s a very good start,” Luc Perreault, president of the signal theft task force of the Canadian Assn. of Broadcasters said, pointing out that the U.S. Millennium Copyright Act has sharper teeth. “But we are tremendously happy with this because it sends a signal that government takes signal theft very seriously.”

Groups such as the Coalition Against Satellite Signal Theft (CASST), of which the CAB is a member, are hoping that the proposed change to the law will act as a financial deterrent to illegal satellite signal dealers and make consumers aware that signal theft will not be tolerated.

The CAB is pushing for the change to be passed before Parliament recesses in early November.

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