The Broadcasting Act blunder series has identified many of the negative consequences stemming from Bill C-10: the beginning of the end of Canadian broadcast ownership requirements, downgrading the role of Canadians in their own productions, risks to Canadian intellectual property ownership, trade retaliation by the U.S., potential capture of news sites and smaller streaming services, and less consumer choice as services work to avoid the costly Canadian regulatory requirements. Yet for some these costs will still be worth it since their singular goal is to mandate that foreign streaming services contribute funding toward Canadian film and television production. Indeed, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has made this the centrepiece of his “get money from web giants” strategy claiming that this will result in a billion dollars a year by 2023 in new funding. As this post documents, those claims massively exaggerate the likely funding impact.
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The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 16: Mandated Payments and a Reality Check on Guilbeault’s Billion Dollar Claim
The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 15: Mandated Confidential Data Disclosures May Keep Companies Out of Canada
The Broadcasting Act blunder series has highlighted Bill C-10’s many regulatory requirements for Internet services including registration, regulations, CRTC-imposed conditions, discoverability requirements, and (in an upcoming post) mandated payments. There is another requirement that may raise the ire of some foreign services and force them to consider blocking the Canadian market. The bill establishes significant confidential data disclosure requirements as a condition that may be imposed on Internet services both big and small around the world.
The Broadcasting Act blunder series has previously examined Bill C-10’s enormous cost to the foundational elements of Canadian broadcasting policy including the beginning of the end of Canadian ownership and control requirements and how it downgrades the role of Canadians in their own programming. There is another significant cost that comes from a bill that Andrew Coyne of the Globe and Mail describes as “one of the most radical expansions of state regulation in Canadian history.” At a time when the government has emphasized the importance of intellectual property, the bill opens the door to less Canadian control and ownership over its IP.
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has cited the need to improve the “discoverability” of Canadian content as a critical reason to support Bill C-10, his Broadcasting Act reform bill. Speaking of his daughter’s use of digital services, Guilbeault told the House of Commons that the bill “will allow her not only to take advantage of an international offering, but also to discover Canadian content.” While few would oppose ensuring that Canadian content is easy to find and well marketed, the Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with a look at the evidence on the issue of discoverability, finding there is little to support claims that regulatory intervention for streaming services is needed.
The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t.
The Broadcasting Act Blunder series continues this week with posts focused on the uncertainty fuelled by a bill that was months in the making, yet leaves numerous issues unanswered (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”). Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault tried assure the House of Commons last week that the bill features several “guardrails” against over-broad regulation. In particular, he stated:
entities would need to reach a significant economic threshold before any regulation could be imposed. This keeps the nature of the Internet as it is. It simply asks companies that generate large revenues in Canada to contribute in a fair manner.
With all due respect, this is simply false. There is no specific economic threshold established by the bill. The starting point is that all Internet streaming services carried on in whole or in part within Canada are subject to Canadian regulation. In other words, if you have Canadian subscribers, the law applies regardless of where the service is located.