The CRTC just concluded a three week hearing on Bill C-11 with its primary focus on the prospect of mandating interim payments by Internet streaming services. The result was predictable as just about everyone made their way to Gatineau to make their case for cash. I appeared for the first time before the CRTC where argued that it should prioritize competition, consumer choice and affordability, recognizing that the emerging system brings with it risks of market exit or higher prices. This week’s Law Bytes episode goes inside the Commission hearing for my opening statement and exchanges with the panel of Commissioners.
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 188: Consumers, Competition or Corporate Cash Grab? – My Bill C-11 Appearance at the CRTC
The CRTC just concluded a three week hearing on Bill C-11 with its primary focus on the prospect of mandating interim payments by Internet streaming services. The result was predictable as just about everyone made their way to Gatineau to make their case for cash. I appeared for the first […]
My CRTC Appearance on Bill C-11: Why Isn’t the Commission Concerned with Competition, Consumer Choice, and Affordability?
The CRTC’s Bill C-11 hearings are in their third and final week as a steady stream of broadcasters and producers make their way to Gatineau to urge the Commission to force Internet streamers to hand over cash in a giant cross-industry subsidy scheme designed to support everyone from small producers to Bell’s news division. As the witnesses take turns seeking the mantle that they are facing the biggest crisis (even as there is record film and television production in Canada and broadcasters stand to be the biggest beneficiary of the Online News Act), there has been practically no interest or discussion of the risks to consumers and competition that could come from significant new regulatory costs.
I set out to change that yesterday in my appearance before the Commission. It was my first time to appear as a witness before the CRTC and I used the opportunity to emphasize the real risks of reduced competition and higher costs that can come with mandated payments that exceed global standards. Further, I argued that the Commission should not establish interim payments at all, noting that it was more appropriate to address all of the outstanding Bill C-11 regulatory questions before looking to streamers to start cutting cheques.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 185: Bill C-11 at the CRTC – A Preview of the Upcoming Online Streaming Act Hearing
The much-anticipated Bill C-11 hearing opens this week at the CRTC. For the next three weeks, the Commission will hear from a wide range of stakeholders, including digital and legacy creators, Internet giants, telecom companies, and consumer groups. This hearing, which builds on an earlier consultation on registration requirements, will address issues that include mandated Internet streaming company contributions and discoverability requirements. What brought us to this moment and what lies ahead? This week’s Law Bytes podcast reviews the lengthy legislative process, the key players at the hearings, and how this consultation fits within the broader Bill C-11 framework.
Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge’s Tries to Re-Write Bill C-11 History: There Is No Quick Implementation and the Government is to Blame
The government plans to release its final policy direction on Bill C-11 today just days ahead of the start of a weeks-long series of hearings at the CRTC on the Online Streaming Act (I am scheduled to appear in early December). Ahead of the release, Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge tries to re-write history, urging fast enactment of the legislation and blaming the Conservatives for the delays. Yet here is the reality: Bill C-10, the predecessor to Bill C-11, would have become law back in 2021 had the government not opened the door to regulating user content. Instead, the bill rightly became a source of concern, leading to years of legislative delays that virtually guarantees that nothing will take effect until 2025 at the earliest.