Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CRTC to call for licensing of streaming online content?

Andrew Coyne does more this week than provide us with an awesome blog post. He also provides us with some scary news about mumblings of new regulation down at the CRTC:
As the comedian Colin Mochrie, who testified at this week’s opening of CRTC hearings on regulating “new media,” observed, now that “the space for content is practically endless . . . content can easily get lost.” State intervention is needed “to make sure Canadians can find their own content.” What does all this lofty talk mean, in concrete terms? It means, if Mochrie and his friends at ACTRA, the film and television actors’ union, have their way, that anyone who streams live video online would have to be “licensed and subject to regulations.” It means that anyone who provides the means for others to do so would have to be likewise licensed and regulated. And of course, there would have to be new taxes to fund this content, on the off chance that Canadians should not prove as eager as all that to be told more Canadian stories online.
That's right. After years of badgering those who dare to partake in foreign media and billions in government subsidies to make creating and distributing Canadian artwork cheaper and easier, the CRTC is talking about regulating them to make it more expensive and difficult. This is by far the worst news in the piece, but it doesn't end there:
in the age of cross-ownership, when the proprietors of most of the major print publications, including this one, also own broadcast outlets, this opens the way for the CRTC to go where it has never before dared: regulating the print media.
Coyne goes on to speculate that the CRTC could mandate CanCon in print media, but I'd be much more concerned about the possibility that they could enforce a requirement that all print media outlets join a national press council the CHRC bureaucrats were mentioning some time ago, as well as imposing harsher penalties on print media that violated the CHRA.
Scary stuff.
h/t: Ker
Cross-posted to The Shotgun.

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