The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission new media hearings take a break over the next few days before concluding with a steady stream of appearances by Internet service providers, who are certain to argue next week against the imposition of a new ISP tax to fund the creation of Canadian new media. My technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) this week argues that the break is much needed, as the past two weeks have been huge disappointment with submissions short on specifics, long on rhetoric, and filled with inconsistencies.
While there is plenty of blame to go around, criticism must start with the CRTC, since it set the tone for the hearings with a series of conditions that make little sense. The Commission tried to limit the hearings to "new media broadcasting," explicitly excluding issues such as net neutrality and the potential regulation of user generated and non-commercial content.
Yet each of these distinctions cause the entire new media hearing edifice to crumble.