My look back at 2023 concludes with a review of my most popular Substacks of the year. Given the overlap between blog posts and Substacks, there is unsurprisingly overlap between the most popular posts with the piece on Bill S-210 occupying the top spot on both charts. However, there are differences, with posts on the CBC and my appearance before the CRTC that focused on competition and consumer choice making their way into the Substack top ten.
Archive for December, 2023
The final Law Bytes podcast of 2023 released last week took a look back at the year in digital policy. With the podcast on a holiday break, this post looks back at the ten most popular episodes of the year. Reviews and previews remain popular as did Bill C-11, Bill C-18, and discussion of the state of telecom competition in Canada.
Last week’s Law Bytes podcast features a look at the year in review along with some guesses at what lies ahead. Before wrapping up for the year, the next three posts will highlight the most popular posts, podcast episodes, and Substacks of the past year. Today’s post starts with the top posts, which starts with a recent look at Bill S-210 and potential age verification and site blocking on the Internet. With the exception of an examination of Bill C-27’s AI regulations, the remaining posts all involve online news and Bill C-18.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 189: The Year in Canadian Digital Law and Policy and What Lies Ahead in 2024
Canadian digital law and policy in 2023 was marked by so many legislative battles that you needed a scorecard to keep track: Bill C-11 on online streaming, Bill C-18 on online news, and Bill C-27 on privacy and AI were the headliners, but there were notable developments on content regulation, competition, and a digital services tax. For this final Law Bytes podcast of 2023, I go solo without a guest to talk about the most significant developments in Canadian digital policy from the past year and to think a bit about what may lie ahead in 2024.
The government this morning released the final Online News Act regulations, effectively gutting the law in order to convince Google to refrain from blocking news links in Canada and to fix some of the legislative mistakes that have been apparent from the start. While proponents of the law will point to the $100 million contribution from Google as evidence of success, privately most in the industry and government acknowledge the obvious: Bill C-18 was deeply flawed and a massive miscalculation that has created far more harm than good. Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge seemingly agrees as she was willing to make changes that were derided by the government throughout the legislative process. Indeed, by the time St-Onge took over the file that was a challenging salvage job, Meta’s $20 million in news deals were lost and blocked news links on Facebook and Instagram was a reality. The prospect of the same happening with Google was too much for the industry and the government since the lost deals would have been at least double that amount (many believe in the $40-50 million range) and lost news links in search would have been catastrophic.