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The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has cited the need to improve the “discoverability” of Canadian content as a critical reason to support Bill C-10, his Broadcasting Act reform bill. Speaking of his daughter’s use of digital services, Guilbeault told the House of Commons that the bill “will allow her not only to take advantage of an international offering, but also to discover Canadian content.” While few would oppose ensuring that Canadian content is easy to find and well marketed, the Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with a look at the evidence on the issue of discoverability, finding there is little to support claims that regulatory intervention for streaming services is needed.

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November 30, 2020 0 comments News
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 71: Minister Navdeep Bains on Canada’s New Privacy Bill

It has taken many years, but Canada finally appears ready to engage in an overhaul of its outdated private sector privacy law. Earlier this month, the Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains introduced Bill C-11, which, if enacted, would fundamentally re-write Canada’s privacy rules. The government intends to repeal PIPEDA and replace it with the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, which features a new privacy tribunal, tough penalties for non-compliance, and new provisions on issues such as data portability and data de-identification.

To discuss the thinking behind the bill and the government’s privacy plans for privacy, Minister Bains this week joins the Law Bytes podcast as he identifies some the benefits of the bill, clarifies the reasoning behind some of the more controversial policy decisions, and provides a roadmap for what comes next.

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November 30, 2020 0 comments Podcasts
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The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 7: Beware Bill C-10’s Unintended Consequences

With the introduction of the government’s plan to regulate Internet streaming services, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has touted new rules that will require companies such as Netflix and Spotify to make mandatory payments in support of Canadian content. The government’s bill also paves the way for the companies to both tinker with what they show to subscribers, so as to increase the “discoverability” of Canadian content, and open their books to Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator by granting access to confidential corporate information.

The Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with my recent Hill Times op-ed which notes that although Mr. Guilbeault argues that the changes are long overdue and merely establish a level playing with conventional broadcasters, much of the policy that underlies the new bill rests on shaky ground ((prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10), Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements).

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November 27, 2020 9 comments Columns
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The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements

One of the more controversial aspects of Bill C-10 has proven to be the decision to remove the very first policy declaration in the Broadcasting Act as found in Section 3(1)(a): “the Canadian broadcasting system shall be effectively owned and controlled by Canadians.” Critics have unsurprisingly jumped on the issue, expressing concern that removing the ownership and control requirements will ultimately undermine claims from Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault that the bill is essential to preserving Canadian cultural sovereignty. The Broadcasting Act blunder series continues with an examination of the issue, concluding that the critics are right and that Bill C-10 marks the beginning of the end of Canadian ownership requirements (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10), Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services).

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November 26, 2020 5 comments News
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The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 5: The Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services

The Broadcasting Act Blunder series has focused for the past two days on inaccurate claims from  Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault that the bill contains significant economic thresholds as a guardrail against over-regulation and excludes news from its ambit. As I noted, the bill does no such thing, though the CRTC will be able to establish regulatory exemptions once it conducts extensive hearings on implementing the legislation should it pass (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10).

One type of service that is narrowly exempted from the new regulation in Bill C-10 is user generated content services, referred to in the bill as social media services. The bill states:

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November 25, 2020 1 comment News