News and iCopyright

There is lots of coverage of the's use of the iCopyright system.  I reference it in this week's column as an example of what a publicly funded institution should not be doing.  The most comprehensive coverage comes from Cameron McMaster at the Canadian Media Policy Portal here and here.

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  1. “While the desire for additional revenue is understandable, the goal for a publicly funded body surely must be to make public access the priority, rather than to garner small incremental revenues.” Perhaps they are looking to wean themselves from the public teat (this will be difficult given the scope of the Act)… Remember, not all of their revenues come from public sources, a large portion comes from advertising that they sell. Given the outcry to stop or reduce public funding of the CBC, this action would in fact make some sense, in particular if they can start actually generating a profit which can be siphoned back into the public purse.

  2. Good Move…Wrong Organization
    While this move by CBC is light years ahead of it’s competition, I agree that this is ethically wrong for a publicly-funded institution.

  3. CBC P3
    The CBC is now run by the same people who commercialized public-access community TV channels. No surprise.

  4. @Dohn Joe
    Is it ethically wrong, given the budget cuts that they’ve been seeing from the government? CBC management is in a tough spot. They are operating the equivalent of 5 networks (English and French language radio and TV, as well as an HF radio service). They have political mandates to provide coverage of local issues in smaller centres (for instance, the only TV station with a studio in Kingston, Ont, pop. 113000, is the CBC… CTV Ottawa and Global Toronto only have retransmitters). To serve this mandate they get public funds to make up for the difference between the costs and the revenues. The current government is, and has been, looking to reduce or even completely cut the funding to the CBC. Add to this the semi-legitimate complaints of CTV, Global, etc, about the CBC getting federal funding when they don’t…

    So, given all of this, is it in the best interest of the organization to throw away an opportunity to reduce the levels of public funding that it receives? At the end of the day, this comes down to a battle of ideologies.

    If you want the work of the CBC to be freely available, then you must accept that they will get, and continue to get, a guaranteed level of funding from the government. Is how much material dependent upon how much of the revenue comes from the federal purse? Say they get 60% of the funding from the taxpayers. Should 100% of the material be freely available? Or just 60%? Arguably, only 60% would be freely available, since that is the amount that was funded by public funds.

    If you want the CBC to stop getting federal funding, then you shouldn’t complain when they try to create a revenue stream which will reduce or replace federal funding.

  5. Dwight Williams says:

    Speaking of funding
    I do not want to see federal funding of the CBC end. I also do not wish to see it shut down, sold off to the private sector…you get the idea. For every demand for the end of the CBC, those who make such should be reminded that fellow citizens want to see it remain a Crown corporation and funded to the extent that we believe it deserves.

    That said, this iCopyright approach is problematic at best.