Columns

NYTVF 2015 - Primetime by Lauren Caulk, New York Television Festival (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/AX1pZH

A Demonstrably False Premise: Why “Inevitable” Canadian Internet and Cancon Regulations Won’t Level the Playing Field, Support Canadian Stories or Save a Thriving Industry

Later this week, a government appointed panel tasked with reviewing Canada’s broadcast and telecommunications laws is likely to recommend new regulations for internet streaming companies such as Netflix, Disney, and Amazon that will include mandated contributions to support Canadian film and television production. In fact, even if the panel stops short of that approach, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chair Ian Scott have both signalled their support for new rules with Mr. Guilbeault recently promising legislation by year-end and Mr. Scott calling it inevitable.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the new internet regulations are popular among cultural lobby groups, but their need rests on a shaky policy foundation as many concerns with the fast-evolving sector have proved unfounded.

Read more ›

January 28, 2020 1 comment Columns
Responsibility by Nathan Siemers (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4KZiPv

Platforms or People?: The Liberals and Conservatives Outline Competing Visions of Internet Responsibility

In recent years, there has been growing concern worldwide with the privacy risks associated with mass data collection online, the potential for rapid dissemination of hate speech and other harmful content on the Internet, and the competitive challenges posed by technology companies – often labelled “web giants” – that are enormously popular with the public but which do not fit neatly into conventional cultural and economic policies. My Globe and Mail op-ed argues the Internet policy proposals contained in the Liberal and Conservative platforms offer dramatically different answers to the question that sits at the heart of these policy issues: who should bear responsibility for the potential risks that arise from the Internet?

Read more ›

October 16, 2019 3 comments Columns
CBC Button by Rebecca Bollwitt https://flic.kr/p/9dwQhg (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

CBC vs. CPC: Why the CBC’s Attempt to Use Copyright to Stifle Expression Backfired Badly

The CBC’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the Conservative Party over the use of seven short video clips in a campaign ad and several Twitter postings sparked a torrent of criticism as even CBC supporters wondered what executives were thinking. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the public broadcaster claimed it was defending the independence of its journalists and journalism, yet the opposite predictably occurred, with many believing that the lawsuit itself demonstrated a political bias.

Read more ›

October 14, 2019 8 comments Columns
La_Fête_à_Macron,_5_mai_2018_—_74 by Jules Xénard [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

From Innovation to Regulation: Why the Liberals Have Lost Their Way on Digital Policy

The 2015 Liberal campaign platform that vaulted the party from third place to a majority government made a big economic bet that focusing on innovation would resonate with voters and address mounting concern over Canadian competitiveness. Innovation would serve as a guiding principle over the years that followed: The Minister of Industry was reframed as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, millions were invested in innovation superclusters and global leadership on artificial intelligence was touted as a national priority.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that four years later, the 2019 Liberal party platform does not include a single mention of innovation or AI. Instead, it is relying heavily on ill-fitting European policies to turn the Canadian digital space into one of the most heavily regulated in the world. Rather than positioning itself as the party of innovation, the Liberals are now the party of digital regulation with plans for new taxes, content regulation, takedown requirements, labour rules and a new layer of enforcement commissioners.

Read more ›

October 2, 2019 3 comments Columns
Canadian wireless carriers by Michael Geist

Can Price Caps or Virtual Competitors Solve Canada’s Wireless Pricing Problem?

Responding to years of consumer frustration with the state of Canadian wireless pricing, Canada’s political parties have propelled the issue on to the election campaign agenda. The telecom giants will disagree, but study after study has found that Canadians pay more for wireless services than consumers in most other developed economies. But though just about everyone agrees we have a problem, my Globe and Mail op-ed notes there remains considerable debate over what to do about it.

Read more ›

September 24, 2019 5 comments Columns