Heenan Blaikie’s Communications group provides comprehensive legal, regulatory and strategic business advice to clients in the broadcasting, telecommunications and new media sectors. We bring a tradition of experience and expertise in the Canadian communications sector, advising clients in high-profile media transactions and key policy proceedings affecting the broadcasting and telecommunications industries.
Members of the firm’s Communications group have acted as Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), served on government advisory committees, held executive positions in both the public and private sectors, and published extensively on communications matters. Our clients rely on Heenan Blaikie’s experience and expertise to navigate in today’s digital and multi-platform environment, including the Internet, mobile and satellite sectors.
We act for a wide variety of public and private sector clients, including:
- radio and television broadcasters
- specialty and pay programming service providers
- cable, satellite and wireless broadcasting and telecommunications service providers
- leading entertainment companies
- the Canadian operations of some of the world’s largest Internet content companies and Internet service providers
- industry trade associations
- government agencies
Our Communications group represents clients before the CRTC on applications for new broadcasting licences, regulatory approvals of transfers of ownership and control, and policy submissions in major broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory proceedings. We also represent clients before the Canadian Copyright Board, Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage as well as other federal and provincial government agencies and departments and parliamentary committees in matters such as tariff applications and objections, general policy reviews, and advocacy positions on issues affecting the communications sector.
We are regularly consulted on a wide variety of business law matters relating to the telecommunications industry, including industry-specific business transactions, the rules and regulations governing unsolicited communications, service provider engagement and sub-contracting, the establishment of effective electronic delivery systems, software and other intellectual property licensing, and on matters relating to the Internet, privacy and e-commerce.
In addition, we have acted as special regulatory counsel with respect to the acquisition of Canada’s largest facilities-based telecommunications carriers, and have been engaged to facilitate Internet access and communications for Canadian universities and medical and research centres.
Our Communications group provides advice in connection with:
- Regulatory law requirements governing licence transfers, renewals and amendments and regulatory approvals arising from the transfer of ownership and control of communications companies, including Industry Canada spectrum licences
- Corporate and commercial transactions, including the acquisition and sale of broadcasting and telecommunications companies and related corporate structuring issues
- Drafting and negotiation of program licensing agreements and affiliation agreements between programming services and cable/satellite broadcasting distributors; marketing and advertising agreements; brand licensing agreements in joint ventures between Canadian and international broadcasters
- Copyright law in the film, television and music industries, including retransmission royalties, legal obligations with respect to public performance and reproduction of musical and audio-visual works, and the impact of new copyright legislation on industry practices in the broadcasting and telecommunications industries and on the Internet
- Competition policy, trade and foreign ownership rules in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors, foreign investment in Canadian cultural businesses, complaints before the Competition Bureau, and the interface between Canadian competition law and communications law
- Privacy and information management – application of Canadian privacy law, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and applicable provincial legislation to the communications sector, establishment of effective electronic delivery systems, professional and ethical standards, privacy breaches, lawful access, unsolicited communications, enterprise-wide privacy, and data protection policies and strategies
- Provision of national and international telecommunications services, the development of optical fibre network facilities and interconnection issues and transborder satellite telecommunications joint ventures
- New media issues – new Web applications such as over-the-top services and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and other issues raised by Web 2.0 and beyond
- IP licensing agreements, information technology and telecommunications-related transactions including joint ventures and high technology