It should not come as a surprise, but those hoping that the government’s much-anticipated cabinet overhaul might signal a potential course-correction on its digital policy mess will be sorely disappointed. If anything, yesterday’s changes at Canadian Heritage and Justice suggest an acceleration of plans that will include continuing to head toward the Bill C-18 cliff of blocked news links as well as introducing controversial online harms legislation and perhaps even copyright reform. Pascale St-Onge, the new Heritage Minister, was a lobbyist in the culture sector before her election to the House of Commons and is likely to welcome the big tech battle, while removing David Lametti as Justice Minister and replacing him with Arif Virani means online harms loses an important voice for freedom of expression in favour of someone who has expressed impatience with delays in new regulations.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 175: Amy Salyzyn on the Benefits and Risks of AI to the Legal Profession
ChatGPT has taken the world by storm in recent months with the potential of generative AI – both positive and negative – top of mind in just about every sector. That is certainly true for the legal profession, where AI tools are becoming increasingly common and courts and regulators try to grapple with the implications. Amy Salyzyn is a colleague at the University of Ottawa who has written extensively in the area of legal ethics, lawyer regulation, the use of technology in the delivery of legal services and access to justice. In the coming academic year she’ll be teaching a course on AI and the legal profession and she joins me on the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the latest on AI technology for law and the legal, regulatory and ethical challenges it brings.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 174: Chris Waddell on the Missing Context for Bill C-18 and the Challenges Faced by Canadian Media
The Online News Act has continued to create a political firestorm this summer with a legislative battle that leaves the future of some Canadian news organizations stuck in the middle between sabre rattling from the government and Internet platforms. Chris Waddell is a professor at and former director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa and also holds the university’s Carty Chair in Business and Financial Journalism. He’s worked at the CBC and the Globe and Mail, where he won two National Newspaper Awards. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to provide much needed context on the current moment in Canadian media and to offer some thoughts on what may lie ahead.
Government Mandate to Block All News in Canada?: Why Australia’s News Law Architect Recommendation Demonstrates that Canada Has Been Getting Awful Advice on Bill C-18
The implications of the legislative disaster that is Bill C-18 continue to unfold as Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is now essentially doing precisely what he said would not do, namely negotiate with the big tech platforms over government mandated payments for news links. Rodriguez had long claimed that the bill was designed to keep the government out of the issue and to leave it to the platforms and media companies to craft agreements. Yet with the departmental update this week, it is clear that the government is now discussing a minimum spend for inclusion in the regulations, effectively putting itself at the very head of the negotiating table.
Given the enormous risks that the bill poses to Canadian media – at stake are links that often constitute the majority media site traffic, the cancellation of existing deals worth millions, and a bill that may not generate any new revenues – the government is looking for a way out of mess of its own making. The Australian example has been the government’s north star on this issue with a prominent role throughout the House and Senate hearings for Rod Sims, the architect of the Australian law. Sims has regularly published op-eds in Canada promoting his bill and offering advice. His latest piece demonstrates how poorly he understands the Canadian law and how the government has been badly advised on how to best proceed. Sims identifies the differences between the Canadian and Australian law, recommending that Canada move to mandate blocking of all news if Google and Meta stop Canadian news linking and sharing: