CRTC Issues Registration Requirements

Michael Geist:

The CRTC last week released the first two of what is likely to become at least a dozen decisions involving the Online Streaming Act (aka Bill C-11). The decision, which attracted considerable commentary over the weekend, involves mandatory registration rules for audio and visual services that include far more than the large streaming services. The Commission says the registrations would give it “de minimis information about online undertakings and their activities in Canada, which would give the Commission an initial understanding of the Canadian online broadcasting landscape and would allow it to communicate with online undertakings.” By contrast, the inclusion of registration requirements for a wide range of undertakings, including some podcast services, online news sites, adult content sites, and social media left some characterizing it as a podcast registry or part of “one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes.” So what’s the reality? As is often the case, it is not as bad as critics would suggest, but not nearly as benign as the CRTC would have you believe.

Anis Heydari, CBC News:

It’s a perspective echoed by Canadian podcaster Jesse Brown, publisher of Canadaland, who told CBC News that Friday’s announcement by the CRTC is concerning to him.

“What they’re signalling is, ‘We are going to be regulating the space, but we’re not telling you how.’ That makes it very hard,” he said.

I do not think it is as mysterious as this quote from Brown suggests. The goals of the Online Streaming Act are public information and, while its objectives are laudable for Canadian media producers and publishers and some of its problems have been corrected, it remains a flawed piece of legislation. Not so, however, for the reasons espoused by Elon Musk or the permanently frenzied Glenn Greenwald, who authored that quote at the end of my excerpt of Geist’s article. It is far more nuanced than Twitter’s reality detached commentariat claim.