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Netflix Data Suggests Streaming Giant Spending One-Third of Canadian Revenues on Film and TV Production in Canada

Earlier this week, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault tweeted that he plans to work with Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains to amend Canadian law to ensure web giants offer more Canadian content, contribute to its creation, promote it, and make it easier to find. The tweet was consistent with the government’s platform and mandate letters that have been pointing to increased Netflix regulation for many months. While there is much to be said about the specifics of each of these regulatory issues – the wisdom of government regulating the Netflix recommendation algorithm, the false “level playing field” arguments, the impact on the company’s 6.5 million Canadian customers among them – it is important to go back to how this debate started with the claims that only regulation would ensure support for film and television production in Canada.

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December 18, 2019 4 comments News
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 36: The Year in Canadian Digital Law and Policy

The past year has been an incredibly active one for Canadian digital law and policy with important Supreme Court cases, legislative proposals, committee reports, expert panels, and political promises to reform existing laws and regulation. For this final Lawbytes podcast of 2019, I go solo without a guest to talk about the most significant trends and developments in Canadian digital policy from the past year and think a bit about what may lie ahead next year. I focus on five issues: the “euro-fication” of Canadian digital policy, the debate over the competitiveness of the Canadian wireless market, the many calls for privacy law reform, the future of Canadian copyright reform, and the review of Canadian broadcast and telecom law.

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December 16, 2019 1 comment Podcasts
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Season One in Review: The Telecom and Broadcast Policy Episodes

Telecom and broadcast policy figured prominently in season one of the Law Bytes podcast. With Canada currently studying potential reforms and cultural issues emerging as a possible electoral issue, there are no shortage of issues worth of discussion. Given its role as a telecom and broadcast regulator, the CRTC was the subject of several episodes: Monica Auer of FRPC talked about her extensive access to information work on the CRTC, while former CRTC Commissioner Peter Menzies joined the podcast to help sort through Cancon funding, Internet regulation, and the role of the Commission.

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August 26, 2019 1 comment Podcasts
It’s Back: The Netflix Tax Debate Returns for the 2019 Election

It’s Back: The Netflix Tax Debate Returns for the 2019 Election

Four years ago, then-prime minister Stephen Harper used the first week of the 2015 federal election campaign to pledge that if re-elected his government would not institute a Netflix tax. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the Liberals responded with a no Netflix tax promise of their own, which became government policy when Justin Trudeau was elected a few months later. Yet as Canada heads toward another election this fall, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and his party seem ready to place the spotlight on Netflix taxes once again. Only this time, the government will call out opposition parties that do not commit to new Internet taxes.

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August 8, 2019 11 comments Columns
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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 19: Canada’s Quiet Success Story – Irene Berkowitz on the Canadian YouTube Creative Sector

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez recently appeared to pre-empt the government’s broadcast and telecommunications legislative review panel in his response to the panel’s interim report. Rodriguez indicated that the government will move to mandate new contributions and Cancon requirements for online services regardless of what the panel recommends. New creators leveraging online platforms don’t typically participate in government consultations, but that doesn’t mean their voice and experience should be ignored. Ryerson’s Irene Berkowitz recently released Watchtime Canada, a report on the role YouTube plays in fostering opportunities for creators. The study found an eco-system that provides thousands of Canadians with full-time employment opportunities and export strategies that outshine the traditional creative sector.  She joins me on the podcast this week to discuss the report and what it might mean for Canadian cultural policy.

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July 8, 2019 3 comments Podcasts