Bill S-225, Senator Claude Carignan’s copyright bill, would create a new compensation scheme for media organizations by establishing a new collective rights system for the use of news articles on digital platforms. It may not become law, but it has sparked considerable discussion within the Senate on the issue of media and Internet platforms. In fact, while the digital policy world was focused on Bill C-10, last month the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications held hearings on the bill with a wide range of witnesses that included News Media Canada, Facebook and Google. I was invited to appear in their last hearing of the session alongside Jamie Irving from News Media Canada and Kevin Chan from Facebook. This week’s Law Bytes podcast episode goes inside the virtual committee hearing room with my opening statement and exchanges with several Senators.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 96: More Harm Than Good – My Appearance Before the Senate Transport Committee on a Copyright Bill to Support Media Organizations
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 95: Mark Phillips on the Federal Court of Canada’s Right to be Forgotten Ruling
Several years ago, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada filed a reference with the federal court in a case that was billed as settling the “right to be forgotten” privacy issue. That may have overstated matters, but the case did address a far more basic question on whether the privacy law applies to Google’s search engine service when it indexes webpages and presents search results in response to searches of an individual’s name. Earlier this month, the federal court released its decision, concluding that it does.
Mark Phillips is a Montreal-based lawyer practicing primarily in the areas of privacy, access to information, civil litigation, and administrative law in both Quebec and Ontario. His client – whose identity remains confidential under order of the court – filed the complaint that ultimately led to federal court decision. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the case, where the right to be forgotten stands under Canadian law, and what might come next.
Reviving Bill C-10: CRTC Re-Opens Data Gathering Plans To Require Disclosures from Internet Streaming Services
Bill C-10 may be dead for now (Senate discussions on returning during the summer will reportedly not include the bill), but CRTC Chair Ian Scott has signalled a willingness to move ahead with Bill C-10-like policies. In fact, even without legislative reform, the CRTC last week announced that it is re-opening its approach to a digital media survey by seeking to expand it to cover foreign streaming services. The decision is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is that the survey would overlap with the data disclosure provisions in Bill C-10 and Scott had previously indicated that he did not believe he had the legislative tools to require data disclosures.
The Senate Bill C-10 Debate Concludes: “I Don’t Think This Bill Needs Amendments. It Needs a Stake Through the Heart.”
The Senate Bill C-10 debate wrapped up yesterday with several speeches and a vote to send the bill to committee for further study. Given that the Senate declined to approve summer hearings for the bill, the earliest possible time for the study to begin is the week of September 20th. If there is a late summer/early fall election as most observers expect, Bill C-10 will die. Without an election, Bill C-10 will be back for Senate hearings in the fall with many Senators emphasizing the need for a comprehensive study that features the myriad of perspectives that were excluded from the failed House review.
While the debate in the Senate was marked by consistent calls for more study (my recap of day one, day two), the final debate was punctuated by a powerful speech from Senator David Adams Richards. One of Canada’s leading authors, Senator Richards has won the Governor General’s Award for both fiction and non-fiction, the Giller Prize, and is a member of the Order of Canada. Senator Richards, appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau to the Senate in 2017, warns against government or cultural decision makers and the parallels to Bill C-10:
In a day that started with Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault urging the Senate to focus on passing Bill C-10, Senators from across the political spectrum again signalled that they believe that Guilbeault’s bill requires extensive hearings given the flawed legislative approach in the House of Commons and a resulting bill that raises a wide range of policy concerns. Concerns with Bill C-10 were raised by virtually every Senator to speak during yesterday’s debate: Senator Donna Dasko noted that “public confidence is lacking at this point in time” in the bill, Senator Colin Deacon argued that the government has failed to address the core concerns involving privacy and competition, and Senator Pamela Wallin called the bill “reckless” and urged the government “to go back to the drawing board.” Those speeches came on top of the first day of Senate debate in which Senator Dennis Dawson admitted that “everybody recognizes the bill is flawed” and Senator Paula Simons said the bill reminded her of the Maginot Line.