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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 70: “It’s Massive Free Distribution” – Village Media’s Jeff Elgie on Why His Company Opposes Lobbying Efforts to Establish a Licence for Linking to News Stories

News Media Canada, the lobby group representing the major newspaper publishers in Canada recently launched a new campaign that calls for the creation of a government digital media regulatory agency that would have the power to establish mandated payments by Internet companies merely for linking to news articles. But not everyone in the sector – or even within News Media Canada – agrees with the position.

Jeff Elgie is the CEO and majority shareholder of Village Media, a digital-only media organization that operates local news and community websites throughout Ontario. He joins the Law Bytes podcast this week to talk about operating local news sites in the current environment, why he welcomes referral traffic from companies like Facebook and Google, and why though he respects News Media Canada, he hopes that a new association will emerge that better represents the diversity of news media in Canada.

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November 16, 2020 1 comment Podcasts
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 69: Bram Abramson on the Government’s Plan to Regulate Internet Streaming Services

Last week, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, legislation that would significantly reform Canada’s Broadcasting Act. A foundational part of what he has called a “get money from web giants” legislative strategy, the bill grants new powers to the CRTC to regulate online streaming services. Bram Abramson is one of Canada’s leading communications law lawyers and managing director of a new digital risk and rights strategy firm called 32M. Bram acted as an outside consultant on telecom regulation for the recent Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel – often called the Yale Report –  but he joins the podcast to talk about the past, present and future of broadcast regulation, in particular what Bill C-10 could mean for the regulation of online streaming services.

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November 9, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
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Cultural Uncertainty: A Closer Look at Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Timeline For Internet Regulation

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has told the Wire Report (sub req) that he expects Bill C-10, his Internet regulation bill, to pass through the House and Senate by early 2021 and for the CRTC to establish the regulatory specifics within nine months so that the system is in place by the end of next year. Guilbeault says that he isn’t concerned that the process could drag out for years and create significant industry uncertainty, indicating that “I think this is a really high profile issue. I’m not sure that these companies want to bear the public scrutiny of…trying to delay and delay the implementation of this.”

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November 5, 2020 4 comments News
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The Government’s Internet Regulation Bill: Why Bill C-10 Will Mean a CRTC-Approved Netflix Service, Reduced Consumer Choice, and Less Investment in Canadian Culture

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault tabled his “get money from web giants” Internet regulation bill this morning. As expected, Bill C-10 hands massive new powers to Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator (the CRTC) to regulate online streaming services, opening the door to mandated Cancon payments, discoverability requirements, and confidential information disclosures all backed by new fining powers. Given that many of the details will be sorted out by the CRTC, the specifics will take years to unfold. In the short term, the bill creates considerable marketplace uncertainty that could lead to reduced spending on Canadian film and television production and delayed entry into Canada of new services. Once the policies are in place, the end result will be CRTC-approved versions of Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime in which the regulator decides how these services promote Canadian content to their subscribers.

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November 3, 2020 24 comments News
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 68: Mike Pal on What the Canadian Experience Teaches About the Intersection Between Election Law and the Internet

The world will be focused on the United States this week as the U.S. Presidential election is slated to take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. The role of social media has been in the spotlight in the US for months with calls for regulation, a range of responses from the major companies, and ongoing concerns about the immediate aftermath of the election and fears that their platforms could be weaponized if the winner is in dispute.

Canada had its own national election one year ago and enacted a range of reforms designed to address some of these issues. Mike Pal is a colleague at the University of Ottawa where he specializes in election law. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the Canadian experience including what changes were made, whether they were effective, what more can be done, and what Canada might teach others about confronting the challenges that lie at the intersection between elections and the Internet.

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November 2, 2020 2 comments Podcasts