Senator’s Concerns About Bill C-10 Perfectly Aligns With Freezenet’s Earlier Visualization

Earlier, Freezenet published a visualization of the effects of Bill C-10. The concerns rising from those visualization have made their way onto the Senate floor.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been called liars, Conservative hacks, and a whole lot more for our coverage of Bill C-10 from hardcore Liberal supporters. Of course, we’ve always maintained a philosophy of trying to get things right regardless of reaction. This obsession with accuracy has, admittedly, led to some relationships being strained including with some big names. Despite this, the track record of my writing has been one of incredible accuracy that some might describe as “uncanny”. Whether it’s accurately predicting the demise of OiNK, or how the Harper Conservative party would copy and paste the Liberal parties Canadian DMCA, we’ve made some pretty wild predictions that turned out to be bang on accurate.

While the list of instances where we were right all along is too long to even contemplate a full rundown, we appear to be adding another chapter to this “creepy” long run. Last Thursday, while the Senate was not sitting, we put together a visualization of how Bill C-10 would affect the user generated content ecosystem. The visualizations were generated because it proved to be complicated to use words to describe why Canadian creators would get, well, screwed over by this legislation. To be clear, that visualization was the result of a number of debates we’ve had with people – some who insist that if it helps Canadian creators, it helps them all (which is false).

Now that the Senate is back, continuing to debate the legislation, we are now seeing the concerns we raised almost directly match concerns being raised on the senate floor. From Michael Geist:

Two Senator speeches merit particular mention. First, Senator Leo Housakos provided the bookend to the Simons speech with an evisceration of the content of Bill C-10. While the Simons speech raised the big picture questions about the Bill C-10 regulatory approach, Housakos simply destroyed the bill, highlighting the exclusion of important voices from committee hearings and the negative implications of its substantive provisions. At least three elements stood out. First, the impact of removing Section 4.1 from the bill:

The fact that the CRTC doesn’t consider you to be a broadcaster when you upload a video onto YouTube means nothing if they can make YouTube change its algorithms so that next to no one will ever see it. It means nothing if they can instead make people see a video with the kind of content they prefer.

Second, Housakos identified the core concern with discoverability requirements:

by prioritizing some content the CRTC will naturally be de-prioritizing other content in ways that go beyond limiting speech. It will be picking winners and losers.

And who will be the winners and losers? Housakos calls it:

The beneficiaries of that system will be the established well-funded media production companies with the lobbyists and lawyers to work it to their advantage – more gatekeepers – not the independent YouTube performer looking to go viral and become the next Justin Bieber or Lily Singh.

Third, Housakos linked the current success of the Canadian film and television sector with the gatekeepers’ support for Bill C-10:

The problem isn’t a lack of investment in Canadian talent and Canadian stories. The problem, if you see it that way, is that it’s happening without the need for intermediaries like the Canada Media Fund. The middlemen aren’t getting their cut of the pie, and what’s worse for them is that they’re not controlling which artists and which producers are receiving funding. They want to pick the winners and losers. That’s the beauty of the digital age. The success of artists and producers isn’t determined by the gatekeepers.

If you look at the quotes from the senator and look back at our visualization, the senator might as well have been raising these concerns after just looking at the two visualizations we made earlier:

(a possible outcome before Bill C-10)

(a possible outcome after Bill C-10)

It’s almost scary how the above concerns fit so perfectly with the above pictures. Now, to be fair, whether our visualization had any impact on the actual senate floor is uncertain. However, if it played even the smallest role, we are happy to have been of assistance in putting this legislation into perspective. The whole point of those is to help educate those on the very real possible affect of Bill C-10 on user generated content. While some might grumble about how we were right again, we could care less. We only care about putting the important news into perspective that can increase the understanding of these digital rights issues. In this case, once again, mission accomplished.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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