Bill C-11 Made Worse: CRTC Wants Canadian “Programming” Promoted Globally

A consultation document suggests that the CRTC is aiming to have Canadian “programming” promoted globally, not just domestically.

Let’s just get this out of the way now: The CRTC is run by complete idiots – clueless stupid idiots. They don’t understand the internet and they take their marching order from legacy media corporations who want to take Canada back to the 80’s.

Last month, Canadian creators were devastated when Bill C-11 received royal assent. This without critical fixes that protected user generated content and the text of the bill being clear that user generated content is scoped into the bill. As a result, many Canadian creators have been seeing their whole careers flash before their eyes. The many hours of editing, the challenges they faced growing, the thrill of making it big, meeting so many people, and more. Is this really the end or are we seriously considering moving out of the country?

Of course, as we’ve said repeatedly, the changes to the internet won’t be happening overnight. There’s the policy directive to the issued by the government, the CRTC consultations, the inevitable trade war with the United States, and the obvious litigation that’s going to ensue to try and smack this law down (still banking on that taking down the now called Online Streaming Act). The real question is, which step is going to be the first one to move forward?

As we found out last week, it appears that the consultation process at the CRTC would be the first step in all of this. This after the regulator releasing their consultation timeline and plan. One thing worth noting is that the consultation on what is considered Canadian content was left towards the end. For a number of critics, this was an indication that changes to such rules are basically an afterthought in this whole process. It also leaves many wondering if there would be very many changes to the archaic rules around that.

However, documents released Friday suggest all of this might be a moot point. Documents released Friday suggest that the intention of the CRTC is to ensure that Canadian content not only gets promoted domestically, but globally as well. From the document:

In light of the above, the Commission invites interested persons to respond to the following questions:

Q36. How can the Commission ensure that online undertakings make Canadian and Indigenous audio and video programming available in Canada and abroad? What types of requirements or incentives would best optimize the distribution of Canadian and Indigenous content, both internationally and domestically?

Q37. How can the Commission ensure that Canadian and Indigenous content is discoverable and promoted on online platforms? What incentives can be applied?

Q38. What is the role of content curators and aggregators, and playlists, in assisting with promotion and discoverability?

Q39. Should the Commission consider requirements, incentives, or both to best ensure that audio and video content created by equity-deserving communities is distributed, promoted and discoverable? Are there different considerations for traditional versus online undertakings?

(emphasis mine)

So, a vast majority of people in Canada debating this, including myself, were under the impression that Canadian content would only be forcibly promoted domestically. So, for example, YouTube would have a Canadian version of YouTube to fulfill the requirements while leaving everyone abroad untouched. The above question suggests that this is not how the CRTC sees things. Instead, it seems that the CRTC is wanting the platforms to promote Canadian content globally. So, that some 30% or 40% of content pushed to the front page? No matter where in the world you view that platform, you’re getting those same recommendations.

If that’s the vision of the CRTC and the CRTC forced platforms like YouTube to comply, then there is only two possible outcomes here. The first outcome is that platforms like YouTube sues and gets the law invalidated by a court. The other outcome is that video sharing platforms like YouTube pull out of Canada entirely. There’s no other outcome that is even remotely plausible that will come out of this. The platforms would never change their recommendations globally to promote Canadian government certified content internationally as that would cause way to much damage to the platforms.

One would hope that this document was poorly worded, but given the double-speak in the myths and facts sheet where the regulator honestly believes that you can regulate the platforms without regulating the content while still promoting Canadian content, it’s very likely that the CRTC honestly believes that this is a reasonable thing to demand of the platforms. Regulators who are this clueless about the internet have absolutely no business regulating the internet.

What’s more, if a platform like YouTube were to exit Canada over this, such a move will get noticed by Canadians regardless of whether or not they are paying attention to this particular debate. There will be questions on why Canada effectively kicked platforms like YouTube out of the country – and such questions won’t exactly be vote winners unless you opposed the bill.

(Via @FortierMorghan)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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