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Road To Nowhere by Smoky Dan CC BY-NC 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6rHeYZ

Road to Nowhere: Parliament Breaks For the Summer With Little Accomplished on Digital Policy

The House of Commons adjourned for the summer yesterday with most committees and House debate on hold until mid-September. The government talked up its accomplishments, but on the digital policy front there was little to promote. The government’s most controversial digital-related bills including online harms (Bill C-63) and privacy and AI regulation (Bill C-27) barely moved during the session, a function of badly bloated legislation that create at least as many problems as they solve. With an election a little more than a year away, the clock is ticking and many legislative proposals will be hard pressed to become law.

Where do things stand on the key pieces of legislation?

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June 20, 2024 2 comments News
Parks Canada Truck by Taber Andrew Bain https://flic.kr/p/cXSgVU CC BY-NC 2.0

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 206: James Plotkin and David Fewer on Canada’s Landmark Copyright Ruling on Fair Dealing and Digital Locks

The debate over copyright and digital locks – technically referred to as anti-circumvention legislation – dates back more than 25 years with creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet Treaties and later in Canada with the enactment of the Copyright Modernization Act. The full scope and application of those digital lock rules has been the subject of considerable controversy, particularly over how fair dealing fits into the equation. The Federal Court of Canada recently issued a landmark decision on the issue which concludes that digital locks should not trump fair dealing. CIPPIC, the University of Ottawa’s public interest technology law clinic, raised the key arguments on the issue in an intervention in the case led by James Plotkin, a partner with the law firm Gowlings, and David Fewer, CIPPIC’s Director and General Counsel. They join the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the ruling and to clear up some of the misinformation that has been circulating since its release.

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June 17, 2024 1 comment Podcasts
YouTube Generation by Jonas Bengtsson CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4Qx6hX

Government Court Filing on Bill C-11: “The Act Does Allow For the Regulation of User-Uploaded Programs on Social Media Services”

The public outcry over the Online Streaming Act is largely in the rear view mirror as the law is now at the CRTC facing years of regulatory and court battles. Last week, the Commission issued its first major ruling on mandated payments by Internet streaming services, a decision that, as I’ve written and discussed, is likely to increase consumer costs with limited benefit to the film and television sector. While Bill C-11 may ultimately become associated with the consumer implications and the CRTC’s failure to consider the market effects, for many Canadians the bill is inextricably linked to fears of user content regulation. For the better part of two years, a steady parade of government ministers and MPs insisted that user content regulation was out of the bill even as a plain reading made it clear that it was in. This week Ministry of Justice lawyers provided their take, arguing on behalf of the government in a court filing that “the Act does allow for regulation of user-uploaded programs on social media services.”

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June 13, 2024 12 comments News
Sour grapes in Alemany Farmers' Market by SMcGarnigle, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Sour Grapes: Big Media Lobby Wants to Squash the New Collective Responsible For Administering Google’s $100 Million Online News Act Money

Late last month, I wrote about the behind-the-scenes battle over the selection of a collective to administer and allocate Google’s annual $100 million to news outlets as part of its Bill C-18 deal with the government. I reported that there were two proposals: the Online News Media Collective, a big media consortium led by News Media Canada (NMC), the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), and the CBC, which was pitted against the Canadian Journalism Collective, a proposal spearheaded by a group of independent and digital publishers and broadcasters that promised a more transparent and equitable governance approach. To the surprise of many, last week Google selected the Canadian Journalism Collective.

The importance of who administers the collective is open to some debate since all eligible news outlets get their fair share regardless of which collective is responsible for allocating the money. However, concerns emerged that the big media collective envisioned a governance structure almost completely controlled by its own members, largely shutting out independent outlets and digital publishers and broadcasters. That governance control opened the door to implementing Bill C-18 in a manner that would benefit big media over the independents.

Yesterday members of the big media collective responded to Google’s choice with a request to the CRTC that can only be described as sour grapes.

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June 12, 2024 6 comments News
Return to normality- 124: still watching far too much TV by Paul Hudson CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/2mbcHbd

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 205: Len St-Aubin on What the CRTC’s Internet Streaming Ruling Means For Creators, Competition and Consumer Costs

Last week, the CRTC released its much-anticipated Bill C-11 ruling on the initial mandated contributions from Internet streaming services. While the government focused on the requirement to contribute 5% of Canadian revenues, a closer look revealed the CRTC largely ignored industry data and the actual contributions from Internet streaming services and seemed entirely unconcerned by the effects on competition and consumer costs. Len St-Aubin is the former Director General of Telecommunications Policy at Industry Canada and played a role in the development of both the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act. He provided consulting services to Netflix until 2020 and has since been an active participant in the debate on Internet policy. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the CRTC ruling, the state of TV and film production in Canada, and what may lie ahead for the streamers, creators, and consumers.

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June 10, 2024 5 comments Podcasts