Post Tagged with: "link tax"

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The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 57: Julia Reda on What Canada Should Learn from the European Battle over a Copyright Link Tax

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault recently suggested that the government’s support for news media should be replaced by copyright rules that would open the door to payments from internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Guilbeault indicated that a legislative package was being prepared for the fall that would include a press publishers’ right is that is commonly referred to as an internet link tax.

Julia Reda is a former Member of the European Parliament who for several years was the most active and visible politician in Europe when it came to copyright reform. That multi-year debate ultimately led to the adoption of a link tax and upload filters with a European directive. She joins me on the podcast to talk about that experience, why she believes a link tax harms freedom of expression and diversity of media, and what lessons Canada should draw from the European experience.

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June 29, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
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Pay to Link?: Canadian Heritage Minister Guilbeault Backs Bringing the Link Tax to Canada

Last week, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault called into question his own government’s policies on supporting news media, suggesting that those programs should be replaced by copyright rules that would open the door to payments from internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Mr. Guilbeault indicated that a legislative package was being prepared for the fall that would include new powers for Canada’s communications regulator and what are commonly referred to as Netflix taxes and internet linking taxes.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the government’s support for new internet taxes should not come as a surprise. There were strong signals that the spring budget – postponed indefinitely due to the current public health crisis – was going to include expanding sales taxes to capture digital sales such as Netflix or Spotify subscriptions.

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June 23, 2020 6 comments News
Image by Simaah from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/cbc-interview-people-outdoors-4729171/

CBC Leads Call for New Government Regulations to Support “Trusted” News Sources

Last month, the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel report sparked an immediate outcry as it recommended that the CRTC identify “trusted” news sites and require news aggregators to link to them:

We recommend that to promote the discoverability of Canadian news content, the CRTC impose the following requirements, as appropriate, on media aggregation and media sharing undertakings: links to the websites of Canadian sources of accurate, trusted, and reliable sources of news with a view to ensuring a diversity of voices; and prominence rules to ensure visibility and access to such sources of news.

In fact, notwithstanding Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s attempts to walk-back initial comments that regulating news websites and services was “no big deal”, the reality is the regulatory structure envisioned by the panel also empowers the CRTC to require these organizations to disclose financial information, consumption data, and algorithmic information. It would also be given the power to regulate commercial negotiations between news providers and these sites and services.

Notwithstanding the public backlash against the proposals (including a House of Commons petition), there is another lobbying effort to get the government to regulate in support of “trusted” news sources. Led by the CBC, the initiative has succeeded in bringing the Toronto Star, Postmedia, Winnipeg Free Press, La Presse, Le Devoir, and others on board.

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February 19, 2020 11 comments News
1st EU-Eastern Partnership Forum by Marco Fieber (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bFPz9X

The Best of a Bad Situation?: Why Tax Incentives Are Better Than Regulation and Cross-Subsidization to Support Canadian Journalism

The challenges faced by the Canadian media sector represent an incredibly challenging policy issue for the government. The struggles to adapt to heightened competition in the digital environment – the local paper now competes with a myriad of alternative choices – has led to layoffs, closures, and intense lobbying for a bailout. For the past few years, the government has largely resisted the lobbying efforts, recognizing the risks to the independence and trust in media that can come from government funding for the media itself. While concerns about government influence over the media and journalists are nothing new (I appeared before two Senate committees yesterday which both featured prominent former journalists), there is a difference between the prospect of future appointments and the perception of cash for favourable coverage.

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November 22, 2018 2 comments News
Julia Reda by MIT Media Lab (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/XjNmdG

The First Rule of Copyright Reform: Don’t Mess With Free Speech and Net Neutrality

Countries around the world have been actively rethinking copyright for the digital age, grappling with the potential for the Internet and new technologies to facilitate new creativity and business models as well as the need for fair remuneration for content creators. The European Union has been particularly active on the issue with a two-year copyright reform process that was billed as providing an update for the digital environment.

As the process neared its conclusion earlier this month, the European Parliament experienced the equivalent of a copyright political earthquake. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that hundreds of elected officials shocked observers by voting against quick approval of a reform package that would have led to blocked access to thousands of legitimate works through upload content filters alongside new “link taxes” that would have charged sites for linking to news stories online.

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July 17, 2018 6 comments Columns