Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom

Registration desk sign by NHS Confederation (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9YxwXp

Weak Walk-Back: Why Steven Guilbeault’s Reversal on Government Licensing News Sites Still Leaves a Huge Regulatory Structure in Place

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault yesterday attempted to walk-back comments from the weekend in which he said regulating news sites “was no big deal.” Guilbeault now says the government does not intend to require licences or registration from “news agencies.” When asked repeatedly how to draw the line between “news agencies” (which is not a term used in the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel report) and other news sources, Guilbeault was unable to provide a clear answer. Despite the lack of specifics, Guilbeault maintains that he still intends to introduce legislation within months.

While the decision to reject mandatory licensing or registration of some news services is a good step, it is nowhere near enough. The BTLR envisions a massive regulatory structure with the CRTC empowered to regulate Internet sites and services worldwide. There are few limits to what is covered: social media services, online streaming services, news aggregators, communications services such as Skype, podcasting sites, app stores, operating systems, and device manufacturers are all somehow considered part of the “system” and potentially subject to regulation and mandated payments.

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February 4, 2020 10 comments News
Free Speech * Conditions Apply by Fukt by Chris Christian (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/i3wYGf

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault on Regulating Foreign News Sites: “What’s the Big Deal?”

In June 2017, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage committee recommended implementing tax on Internet services in a report on media. Within minutes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the proposal at a press conference in Montreal. Trudeau’s answer – which literally came as committee chair Hedy Fry was holding a press conference on the report – was unequivocal: No. The government was not going to raise costs of Internet services with an ISP tax. The committee recommendation was minutes old and the government wasted absolutely no time in killing the proposal.

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February 3, 2020 11 comments News
The Internet is the Problem by Alex Pang (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dvKhNb

The CRTC Knows Best: Panel Report Recommends Costly Overhaul of Canadian Communications Law to Regulate Internet Sites and Services Worldwide

The Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel released its much anticipated report yesterday with a vision of a highly regulated Internet in which an expanded CRTC (or a renamed Canadian Communications Commission) would aggressively assert its jurisdictional power over Internet sites and services worldwide with the power to levy massive penalties for failure to comply with its regulatory edicts. The recommendations should be rejected by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault as both unnecessary to support a thriving cultural sector and inconsistent with a government committed to innovation and freedom of expression.

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January 30, 2020 20 comments News
NYTVF 2015 - Primetime by Lauren Caulk, New York Television Festival (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/AX1pZH

A Demonstrably False Premise: Why “Inevitable” Canadian Internet and Cancon Regulations Won’t Level the Playing Field, Support Canadian Stories or Save a Thriving Industry

Later this week, a government appointed panel tasked with reviewing Canada’s broadcast and telecommunications laws is likely to recommend new regulations for internet streaming companies such as Netflix, Disney, and Amazon that will include mandated contributions to support Canadian film and television production. In fact, even if the panel stops short of that approach, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chair Ian Scott have both signalled their support for new rules with Mr. Guilbeault recently promising legislation by year-end and Mr. Scott calling it inevitable.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the new internet regulations are popular among cultural lobby groups, but their need rests on a shaky policy foundation as many concerns with the fast-evolving sector have proved unfounded.

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January 28, 2020 1 comment Columns
Happy New Year 2019 by Jon Glittenberg (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2dQH12q

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 36: The Year in Canadian Digital Law and Policy

The past year has been an incredibly active one for Canadian digital law and policy with important Supreme Court cases, legislative proposals, committee reports, expert panels, and political promises to reform existing laws and regulation. For this final Lawbytes podcast of 2019, I go solo without a guest to talk about the most significant trends and developments in Canadian digital policy from the past year and think a bit about what may lie ahead next year. I focus on five issues: the “euro-fication” of Canadian digital policy, the debate over the competitiveness of the Canadian wireless market, the many calls for privacy law reform, the future of Canadian copyright reform, and the review of Canadian broadcast and telecom law.

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December 16, 2019 1 comment Podcasts