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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 3 comments News
PLEASE INFORM US IF ANYTHING IS MISSING OR INCORRECT by Leo Reynolds https://flic.kr/p/tV5uM CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Pay Up and Shut Up: How The CRTC Has Removed Canadians From Broadcast and Internet Policy

Last December, I appeared before the CRTC as part of Bill C-11 hearings, where I emphasized the need for the Commission to pay attention to competition, consumer choice, and affordability. My takeaway from that appearance was that “my intervention met with skepticism from some Commissioners who see their role as guardians of the broadcasting system on behalf of longstanding beneficiaries with little regard for the impact on consumers or the risks to competition.” It turns out that was a pretty good read of the situation as this week’s Bill C-11 streaming ruling acts as if consumers, competition, and affordability are irrelevant issues that are at best someone else’s concern. The result is that Canadians has been largely removed from broadcasting and Internet policy at the regulator, expected to pay up and shut up.

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June 6, 2024 6 comments News
Spotify by Jon Åslund https://flic.kr/p/8aTxPM CC BY 2.0

CRTC Bill C-11 Ruling “Makes Web Giants Pay” But it is Canadian Consumers That Will Get the Bill

The CRTC has released its much-anticipated Bill C-11 ruling on the initial mandated contributions from Internet streaming services. The headline the Commission and government will promote is that the services will be required to contribute 5% of their Canadian revenues to support various Canadian funding programs that support film and TV production, news, and music. The decision is a perfect illustration of a sector that is too often focused on regulatory payments rather than market-based success with incredible micromanagement of funding in which the CRTC is turned into a policy funding machine of the government (no surprise that government officials spent last week calling stakeholders for advance supportive comments). For the moment, the actual contributions from Internet streaming services are ignored, an updated definition of Canadian content doesn’t exist, commercial success is irrelevant, and subsidies for the news operations of companies such as Bell and Rogers are encouraged. To top it off, the streaming services are required to pay but are unable to access the funds even as they invest in production in Canada. Bill C-11 was about “making web giants pay” and that is what the CRTC was determined to do even if it is consumers that will ultimately get the bill.

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June 4, 2024 10 comments News
Username and password 20170626, Santeri Viinamäki, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Huge Win for Copyright User Rights in Canada: Federal Court Rules Digital Lock Rules Do Not Trump Fair Dealing

The Federal Court has issued a landmark decision (Blacklock’s Reports v. Attorney General of Canada) on copyright’s anti-circumvention rules which concludes that digital locks should not trump fair dealing. Rather, the two must co-exist in harmony, leading to an interpretation that users can still rely on fair dealing even in cases involving those digital locks. The decision could have enormous implications for libraries, education, and users more broadly as it seeks to restore the copyright balance in the digital world. The decision also importantly concludes that merely requiring a password does not meet the standard needed to qualify for copyright rules involving technological protection measures. If this all sounds technical, this post provides the necessary background and then reviews the decision.

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June 1, 2024 11 comments News
Remember Who You Are by Thomas Hawk https://flic.kr/p/DanhUs CC BY-NC 2.0

This is Who We Are Now

There was another shooting at a Jewish school in Montreal yesterday, which led to what has become the Canadian version of “thoughts and prayers”, namely a politician lamenting that “this isn’t who we are.” But months of escalating antisemitism make it clear that this is exactly who we are. Just this week, there were shootings at two Jewish schools in Canada, testimony at an Ottawa school board hearing on appalling antisemitism, a mother pulled her child out of a Burlington school due to antisemitism, a lawsuit was filed against OCAD, an Ontario university, for failing to provide Jewish students with a safe environment, and four university presidents told a Commons committee that antisemitism is a problem on campus and that the messaging coming out of the encampments are antisemitic. And it’s only Thursday.

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May 30, 2024 3 comments News