With yesterday’s Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting with experts on Bill C-10 and its implications for freedom of expression, this is a special Law Bytes episode featuring my opening statement and engagement with Members of Parliament. The discussion canvassed a wide range of issues including how regulating user generated content makes Canada an outlier worldwide, the impact on net neutrality, and why discoverability requirements constitute speech regulation. There is a second post that features my opening statement to the committee.
The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.
Thank you Dr Geist for all of the work you’ve been doing and are continuing to do for freedom of expression.
Listening to the committee it seems like they want to build a content wall and force innovative technology creators to pay for it while at the same time increasing the companies maintenance costs or operating expendatures. I’ve worked on launching content services the product decision would be something like “launch in canada” vs “hire 10-30 more software developers” and since most teams are short staffed hire more people would win dropping canada to the bottom of the list of optional countries instead of a fast follow from the us launch.
In my view the fastest way to get money to canadian artists that need it is to create a canadian content publishing co-op similar to the canadian wheat board then negotiate a better revenue share due to the large amount of content it represents. If executive and lobbyist compensation from the new co-op or crown corporation is set to the government pay scale it would free up a lot of revenue for the artists and content creators. Large content companies typically get audit rights in the partnership contract to ensure accurate payments etc.
I’ve tried to fit the new terminology and the discoverability to a user story to show how it will likely produce a poor or frustrating user experience.
Members of the Canadian Heritage Committee who support Bill C-10 are disparaging canadian cultural content after a commission of experts increased the discoverability of the canadian cultural content that is near and dear to our hearts and is the backbone of our social cohesion.
While watching the online undertaking of the CPHC committee a thrilling uniquely canadian cultural program about the charter of rights and freedoms had it’s discoverability increased over a program called “clause by clause”.
It’s a historic triumph over the large multi-party conglomerate that doesn’t want to play fair frequently threatening the suspension of the series and regularly targetting unaffiliated users with ridicule and interruptions. The canadian cultural programming that is the solid bedrock of our national pride and social cohesion was prominently displayed on the online udertaking it had been lifted to the top of the complex algorithms documented in the green bible that takes two clerks and a chair laborious amounts of time to discover and explain what is the equivalent of pressing the pause button and then the resume button.
Sadly for our deeply loved canadian cultural content things take a tragic turn. The CEO of multiparty conglomerate smugly declares to the world that program his own father poured his sweat blood and tears into producing is only suitable for people who wear “tin foil hats” the modern day dunces cap showing callous disregard for our beloved cultural content while simultaneously perpetuating negative stereotypes about disabled canadians.
The VP in charge of this season’s Bill C-10 series of programs ridicules our strong and freely expressed feelings of love for canadian culture as dishonest. Before we even have a chance to pick our shattered hearts up off the floor thr VP attacks us again by dehumanizing us suggesting to the world that we aren’t real people with real feelings and that our feelings are part of some grand sinister conspiracy.
After seeing three programs of our beloved cultural content the members of the multiparty conglomerate on the committee start dispairaging it. They call it a fillibuster, a waste of time to persue further, they treat it as an unneccesary distraction from the purpose of the online undertaking and push for the canadian cultural content to be removed from the platform.
So my question to the committee is this:
Given the irritability and sometimes erratic behaviour of the committee members that is clearly documented on the past programs of the CPHC online undertaking after a couple weeks of being exposed to “increased discoverability” of beloved canadian cultural content. Why do you want to make canadians sit through what you describe as a fillibuster, an experience that you very clearly despise, every time we go to rent a video or browse the audiobook store?
This podcast presents a series of clips in which Michael Geist lays out his argument that Bill C-10 represents a supposed threat to freedom of expression. For an explanation of why this argument is wrong and the bill is not a threat to freedom of expression, I refer the reader to Janet Yale’s opening statement to the same parliamentary committee meeting, to be found at 14:35:00 of the following address: https://parlvu.parl.gc.ca/Harmony/fr/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20210517/-1/35475?Language=French&Stream=Video. Law professor Pierre Trudel’s opening statement, which also explains why Bill C-10 is not a threat to freedom of expression can be found at 14:44:55 of the same address (and is also available in English).