Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Copyright

USTR and Canada Readouts, November 30, 2022, https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2022/november/readout-ambassador-katherine-tais-meeting-canadas-minister-international-trade-export-promotion, https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2022/11/minister-ng-meets-united-states-trade-representative-katherine-tai.html

A Tale of Two Readouts: U.S. Escalates Trade Concerns With Canadian Digital Policy as Canada Seeks To Downplay the Issue

Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met yesterday to discuss Canada-U.S. Trade issues and concerns regarding Canada’s digital policy – most notably a proposed digital sales tax and Bills C-11 and C-18 – continue to mount. The U.S. raised digital policy concern over the summer, specifically citing Bill C-11 with a reference to “pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services.” The latest readout suggests that the concerns are growing, as the U.S. now cites both Bills C-11 and C-18 by raising “pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services and online news sharing and discriminate against U.S. businesses.”

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December 1, 2022 3 comments News
freedom of expression is your right by Rachel Hinman https://flic.kr/p/6J5ATQ (CC BY 2.0)

Freedom of Expression for a Price: Government Confirms Bill C-18 Requires Platform Payment for User Posts That Include News Quotes and Hyperlinks

The longstanding debate over whether Bill C-18, the Online News Act, requires payment for linking came to an end yesterday. Government officials admitted that even basic quotes from news articles that include a hyperlink to the original source would scope user posts into the law and require platforms such as Google and Facebook to negotiate payment for the links. As noted below, even that position may understate the impact of the bill, which appears to also cover a user post of a news quote without a link. In other words, merely quoting a few sentences from a news article on an Internet platform is treated as making news content available, which triggers a requirement for the platforms to negotiate payment. This position runs counter to Canada’s copyright obligations under the Berne Convention and has no place in a country committed to freedom of expression. 

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November 30, 2022 5 comments News
One Billion Dollars by Matt Brown https://flic.kr/p/pq2SsN (CC BY 2.0)

No Billion Dollar Bonus: Officials Admit Most Bill C-11 Funding Isn’t New and Will Still Be Controlled by Foreign Streamers

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and department officials appeared before the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications yesterday on Bill C-11. I posted a Substack of my live tweeting of the Minister’s appearance, which included continued gaslighting on the applicability of the bill to user content and an acknowledgement that it could lead to algorithmic manipulation. After Rodriguez departed, officials took questions for another hour. One of the most notable exchanges involved the express admission that the much-touted estimate that the bill would generate a billion dollars is massively overstated. In fact, department officials now admit that most of that money isn’t new at all. Rather (much as I’ve argued), it is simply a re-allocation of existing expenditures in Canada that is unlikely to result in significant increased economic activity or new jobs.

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November 23, 2022 2 comments News
Yale ISP Talk poster, https://twitter.com/yaleisp/status/1592643606392643584

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 147: Canada’s Battle over Internet Streamers – A Cancon Story of Freedom of Expression, Algorithms and Cultural Policy

The end for Bill C-11 at the Senate is drawing near as this week, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is scheduled to make a long awaited appearance followed by clause-by-clause review of the bill. The Senate hearings have been a model for legislative review. They have heard from a myriad of witness, read countless briefs, and immersed themselves in a hard piece of legislation. Regardless of their views, they know the issues around content regulation in the bill are real. The big remaining questions are whether those hearings result in legislative amendments and, if they do, whether the government will accept them.

While the Senate was continuing its hearings last week, I was delighted to travel to Yale University to deliver a talk on the bill and the controversies it has sparked. This week’s Law Bytes podcast is an audio version of that talk, which traces the development of Canadian broadcast policy as applied to the Internet and recounts how a relatively uncontroversial bill when first introduced sparked a firestorm that is still raging.

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November 21, 2022 3 comments Podcasts
CRTC at Senate TRMC Committee, November 16, 2022, https://senparlvu.parl.gc.ca/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20221116/-1/11512

Oops, He Did It Again: CRTC Chair Ian Scott Tries to Walk Back Bill C-11 Comments, But Officials Confirm Power to Regulate User Content is in the Bill

CRTC Chair Ian Scott returned to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications last night, presumably hoping that his fourth House and Senate committee appearance involving Bill C-11 might allow him to say what the government clearly would like, namely that the bill will not lead to the regulation of user content. Yet Scott has failed each time, because the bill plainly does contain that power. In this instance, Scott embarrassed himself, the CRTC, and the entire legislative process as he demonstrably failed to defend the independence of the CRTC and zig-zagged between actively promoting the bill, claiming that was not his role, and even bizarrely offering to draft potential amendments.

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November 17, 2022 12 comments News