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http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jZIxfAoYzhYtz2BAbGRKW04pQ8qQ

Clearly Carmi Levy and I are in different camps as this story illustrates. 

For the record, while it's true that I "did not advocate regulation such as Canadian content on commercial websites" that's not the same as saying that I oppose it.  I think the matter needs much consideration.  There will be much polarization on this (and many other issues that will arise at the hearing) but the "right answer" or "best answer" really isn't known yet.  It can only be derived by examining all facets of all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting world with due care and diligence -- and that will take a long time.

I'm not sure how Levy can say that he doesn't believe the CRTC's approach to the Internet will work since it has yet to define what its approach will be. 

Furthermore, saying that the CRTC should have acted 15 years ago is questionable at the least.  There was little if any video on the Internet 15 years ago and I doubt that any form on Internet radio even existed then.  Sure, it could be argued that the CRTC might have seen this coming but any regulation at that time would have stifled innovation.  And in reality, it would have taken considerable foresight in 1993 to have realized where things would be today.

The commission has clearly and repeatedly indicated that it is interested in commercial operators who are transmitting professionally produced content.  Levy is correct that "the truth of the matter is in the age of new media we are all broadcasters. We are all capable of distributing content."  However, few of us have the content (or content rights) to do so -- and if we're "broadcasting" content for which we don't have the rights that's not a CRTC concern but rather is a copyright infringement matter.

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2009 could be pretty interesting. Your right, this is not a simple matter. It also causes uncertainty and that and business don't go well together. I would suggest that the review itself is negative - no matter what the result.

I agree that uncertainty and business don't go well together. However...

... when the New Media exemption order (CRTC 1999-197) was issued in December 1999, the Commission noted that "several parties expressed concern that, while the exemption from regulation of this class of undertakings may be appropriate at this time, the conditions under which they operate and their impact on the broadcasting sector generally may change radically in the near future. These parties argued that the Commission’s policy of reviewing exemption orders within five years of their issuance should be altered in this case to require a review of the Order within a shorter period of time".

Well, as we know, not only did the Commission not review the order in an expedited manner, as some parties requested, it also didn't do so within its own stated five-year time frame. In fact, by the time the Commission announces any decisions that may arise out of the 2009 hearing, close to ten years will have elapsed since the original exemption order was issued.

Since there has never been any foundation to believe that the all-encompassing new media exemption order would remain in place permanently, there has, therefore, been a cloud of uncertainty hanging over things all along and businesses have had to operate within that uncertainty.

Worst case: the hearing will change nothing and leave the exemption order in place -- and in doing so reinforce the status quo and perhaps provide some implicit certainty for businesses that current practices are acceptable and can continue. Hopefully, though, it will provide definitive direction on at least some of the issues involved and reduce the uncertainty that has existed since day one.

Let's not forget, too, that having formal policies in place as opposed to an exemption order could conceivably open the door to funding that doesn't exist today for new media -- and business certainly likes money.

Another thought, Trevor.

As you know, technically, the activities of your company fit the definition of "broadcasting" the way it is defined in the Broadcasting Act.

Wouldn't you benefit from the certainty of knowing -- one way or the other -- whether the Commission would, in fact, view you as a broadcaster, and what that would mean for you? You face uncertainty now operating under the exemption order and that might be cleared up by the hearing.

yeah i guess not being under review is more certain than being under review. not as much certainty as being ruled on, but of course, regulation may not lead to long term certainty either.

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This page contains a single entry by Alan Sawyer published on October 15, 2008 7:49 PM.

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