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Stephen Zolf

Partner Admitted to the Ontario Bar: 1989

A recognized expert in communications and media law, Stephen guides clients through the rapidly evolving regulatory environment governing the telecommunications and media industry in Canada. With disruption caused by the rise of new media, clients rely on Stephen for strategic advice on applying existing legislation to complex new situations. Stephen closely follows the ongoing issues, decisions, and developments that will have an impact on his clients, and proactively helps them manage their business accordingly.

Stephen is a member of the firm's Corporate/Commercial Group and  the Communications, Sports & Media and Technology Teams. His practice focuses on media and telecom regulation and competition/foreign investment law relating to merger clearance under the Competition Act and the Investment Canada Act. Stephen has specific expertise on the legislative and regulatory framework governing Canada’s communications sector under the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act and the Canadian Copyright Act.

Stephen provides strategic and regulatory advice to media clients on a broad range of matters, including Canadian content rules and regulations, funding of Canadian producers and content creators and intellectual property issues relating to the acquisition of content for online and digital platforms. Stephen also advises clients on telecom matters such as the provision of competitive access to cable/telecom telecommunications facilities and networks and wireless spectrum policy.

His expertise extends to the application of the specific foreign investment rules in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors, including regulatory approval for transfers of ownership and control.

Stephen has acted as regulatory/legal counsel in a number of major high profile media transactions in Canada. He has appeared before various administrative tribunals and agencies, including the CRTC, the Canadian Copyright Board, the Competition Bureau and Industry Canada. With strong communication skills and a personable approach, Stephen speaks regularly on broadcasting policy, telecommunications and copyright law.

He has been consistently recognized as a leading practitioner of communications and media law by Chambers and Partners, Lexpert, Best Lawyers and Legal Media Group. He is also the Legal Alert Editor for Carswell.

Before becoming a lawyer, Stephen worked as an economist and policy advisor for the Canadian government in the area of competition policy, regulatory reform and telecommunications.

Awards & Recognition

Professional Involvement

Memberships

  •  American Bar Association

Professional Activities

  • Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) - Executive Committee, Entertainment, Media and Communications Section (since 2010)
  • Legal Alert (Carswell), Editor (Telecommunications)

Representative Matters

Shaw Communications Inc. – Regulatory counsel on the acquisition of Shaw Media Inc. by Corus Entertainment Inc.

Berry Plastics Inc. – Canadian Competition/Merger review process.

Advising major U.S. studios on acquisitions and commercial transactions in Canada and on regulatory and competition law matters.

Advising major Canadian private equity firm on competition law issues and Industry Canada licensing framework relating to the transfer of AWS wireless spectrum licences

Shaw Communications Inc. – regulatory counsel on acquisition of restructured CanWest Global Communications Corp.

Rogers Communications Inc. – regulatory compliance under the Broadcasting Act and Competition Act issues in connection with a proposed media acquisition

Advising cable programming services on issues related to foreclosure, vertical integration and abuse of dominance provisions under section 78 and 79 of the Competition Act

AVLA – Commercial radio tariff (Canadian Copyright Board)

V Interactions Television Network – Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada re: CRTC jurisdiction over “value for signal” regime

Canadian Film Distributors and Exporters, Copyright Board – Copyright Board proceeding on proposed SODRAC Video Copy tariff

International Association of Internet Service Providers – Supreme Court of Canada appeal on Tariff 22 (Internet)

Retransmission copyright collective – tariff on distant radio and television signals (Copyright Board)

Selected Speaking Engagements

Foreign Participation on the Market – Change is in the Air, Insight Telecommunications Forum, Ottawa, February 24-25, 2014 (Conference Co-Chair)

What’s New for Fixed and Mobile Networks, Insight Telecommunications Forum, Ottawa, February 24-25, 2014 (Conference Co-Chair)

Copyright, content and filtering/blocking:  how can we ensure open access to the Internet while protecting IP (Chair), International Institute of Communications (IIC), Telecommunications and Media Forum, Washington, DC (2012)

Perspectives on Canada’s New Copyright Laws:  Bill C-11 and the Canadian Supreme Court’s Copyright Pentalogy, ABA Section of International Law International Intellectual Property Rights Committee, Canada Committee, teleconference (2012)

Lawful Access to ISP Data – what the new legislation will mean for you, Insight 9th Annual Telecommunications Forum, Ottawa (2012)

CRTC Wireless Code of Conduct:  Constitutional Law Issues, Insight 9th Annual Telecommunications Forum, Ottawa (2012)

Understanding Fair Dealing: Copyright Primer for CLE Providers, Association of Canadian Legal Education Directors (ACLED), Toronto (2012)

The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11): Striking the Balance to Foster Innovation and Digital Rights Management (DRM), Heenan Blaikie 8 Minute Updates: Protecting Innovation, Toronto (2012)

New Rights for Performers and Makers of Sound Recordings, Osgoode Professional Development Understanding Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act, Toronto (2012)

International Institute of Communications (IIC) (Canadian Chapter), 2011 Conference: Towards a Digital Economy for Canada, Plenary Panel, “Copyright and the Digital Economy,” November 2011

Selected Publications

“Blame Licensing, Not CRTC for Streaming Restrictions,” The Lawyers Weekly, March 2016.

“CRTC’s Revised Regulatory Framework for Wholesale HSA Services,” Legal Alert, December 2015.

“Recent Changes to the Investment Canada Act Will Affect Investments by Non-Canadians,” Corporate Financing, Volume XIX, No. 4, 2015.

Education

  • LLB, University of Toronto, 1987
  • M.Sc. (Econ.), London School of Economics and Political Science, 1983
  • BA (Econ.), University of British Columbia, 1981