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off the rails by Bruce Aldridge (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ivveR4

Off the Rails: How the Canadian Heritage Copyright Hearings Have Veered Badly Off-Track

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has conducted several weeks of hearings as part of its study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries. While the copyright review is the responsibility of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the heritage committee was asked to conduct a study to help inform its work. The mandate was described in the following motion:

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June 13, 2018 5 comments News
CPCC meeting notes, obtained under Access to Information Act

Canadian Music Industry Wants Government to Pay Copying Fee for Every Smartphone Sold in Canada

Last fall, months before the start of the Canadian copyright review, the Canadian Private Copying Collective, the collective that administers the tax on blank CDs that has long advocated for extending the payments to iPods and other electronic devices, met with senior officials at Canadian Heritage including Deputy Minister Graham Flack and Melanie Joly’s chief of staff Leslie Church (over two days the collective also met with politicians such as Dan Ruimy, Peter Van Loan, and Pierre Nantel). According to documents released under the Access to Information Act, the collective arrived with a startling demand, asking the federal government to pay $160 million over the next four years to compensate for music copying.

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June 11, 2018 17 comments News
Boxee beta screenshot by Ian Forrester (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7vRe8Z

The CRTC’s Fundamental Flaw: Broadcasting May Be the Internet, but the Internet is Not Broadcasting

Canada’s communications regulator last week reversed decades of policy by recommending that the government implement new regulation and taxation for internet services in order to support the creation of Canadian content. The report on the future of program distribution, which will surely influence the newly established government panel reviewing Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting laws, envisions new fees attached to virtually anything related to the internet: internet service providers, internet video services, and internet audio services (wherever located) to name a few.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes with the remarkable popularity of services such as Netflix and YouTube, there is a widely held view that the internet has largely replaced the conventional broadcast system. Industry data suggests the business of broadcasters and broadcast distributors such as cable and satellite companies won’t end anytime soon, but it is undeniable that a growing number of Canadians access broadcast content through the internet.

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June 8, 2018 6 comments Columns
What Is it to Be Human in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? by World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/Q2JwZA

Math Not Magic: If Melanie Joly Mandates Internet Taxes, Consumers Will Foot the Bill

The government launched its telecom/broadcast review yesterday and the discussion immediately turned to Internet and Netflix taxes. Despite the wide array of issues ranging from net neutrality to the CBC before the newly established panel, for many the focus of its recommendations and the government response will ultimately come down to whether there are new Internet regulations and taxes established to support the creation of Canadian content.

Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains both commented on the issue, suggesting divergent priorities.

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June 6, 2018 14 comments News
tv chair by kolrabi (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/quZw6Q

Government’s Telecom/Broadcast Review Sets Up Internet Taxes and Regulation As a 2019 Election Issue

The government unveiled the members of its telecom and broadcast review panel this morning setting the stage for Internet access taxes, Netflix regulation, and the imposition of cultural policies on telecommunications to emerge as a 2019 election issue. The new panel will be chaired by Janet Yale, who brings experience from both telecommunications and broadcasting to the role. The remaining six panel members line up nicely as telecom nominees (Hank Intven, my colleague Marina Pavlovic, and Monica Song) or broadcast nominees (Peter Grant, Monique Simard, and Pierre Trudel).

The leaked coverage this morning paints the panel as an effort to redraft broadcasting regulation with Internet companies such as Netflix and Facebook firmly in the government sights. Yet the reality is far more complex with terms of reference that touch on a wide range of telecom and broadcast issues. The Canadian Heritage perspective may be focused on broadcast and Internet regulation (despite repeated assurances that there is no support for new Internet taxes), but the ISED view will be focused on competition, consumer issues, and net neutrality. Last week’s CRTC report provides momentum for Internet taxes and regulation, however, the government has yet to provide much of a response. Indeed, the instructions to the panel reflect the departmental tensions with language that supports both sides and questions that touch on everything from consumer protection to the CBC.

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June 5, 2018 6 comments News