Days after Bill C-11 passed in the House of Commons, the CRTC released its decision involving Radio-Canada and the use of the N-word in a broadcast. The decision sparked an outcry in Quebec and raised concerns that the Commission did not feel constrained by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its decision. Indeed, given that the majority of the Commission ignored the Charter and freedom of expression altogether, the decision signalled how Bill C-11 could be used to regulate Internet content the CRTC deems contrary to Broadcasting Act policy objectives. Two of the lingering questions with the case involved timing and who had been involved: the complaint had reached the CRTC in 2020, yet the decision was released nearly 18 months later only after Bill C-11 passed the House of Commons. I asked the CRTC for the full commission minutes to better understand who was involved in the case and when the issue was debated and decided. The Commission responded that all of this information was only available through the Access to Information Act. While I find this level of secrecy astonishing – there is no reason for the Commission to not publish who was involved in decisions and to make its minutes publicly available by default – I filed the request.
Post Tagged with: "CBC"
The CBC Lawsuit, Fair Dealing and Future Reform: The Unexpected Arrival of Copyright in Election 2019
As the 2019 federal election winds toward voting day next week, copyright has unexpectedly arrived on the scene. Cultural groups have lamented for weeks that none of the national political parties have discussed copyright, placed it in their platforms, or otherwise committed to reforms. The likely reason – neatly articulated by OpenMedia’s Laura Tribe in this week’s Lawbytes podcast – is that there are no sharp divisions between the parties on copyright that might provide an electoral advantage. Instead, the government conducted an extensive copyright review which led to the Industry Committee’s June 2019 report. That committee, which heard from hundreds of witnesses representing all perspectives, generated a report that received all-party support and provides a roadmap for future reforms (the notable exception being on crown copyright).
The CBC’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the Conservative Party over the use of seven short video clips in a campaign ad and several Twitter postings sparked a torrent of criticism as even CBC supporters wondered what executives were thinking. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the public broadcaster claimed it was defending the independence of its journalists and journalism, yet the opposite predictably occurred, with many believing that the lawsuit itself demonstrated a political bias.
What Was the CBC Thinking?: A Closer Look at the Video Clips in its Copyright Lawsuit Against the Conservative Party
The CBC decision to sue the Conservative Party for copyright infringement over seven clips that were either used in a campaign ad or posted to Twitter has unsurprisingly garnered considerable attention. While the CBC claims that its lawsuit was designed to defend perceptions of independence of its journalists and journalism, the opposite has predictably occurred with many believing that the lawsuit itself (filed eleven days before the election after the content was removed) demonstrates bias against the Conservative party. Not only does the lawsuit fuel perceptions of bias, but it causes enormous damage to CBC journalists – Rosemary Barton and John Paul Tasker – who are both named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The CBC now says it will file an application to remove them from the suit, but it is hard to understand how anyone at the public broadcaster thought it was a good idea to have one of its lead news anchors and a parliamentary reporter sue a political party.