Conservatives Double Down on Support for Mandated Internet Age Verification and Website Blocking: Why Can’t Canada Get Common Sense Digital Policy?
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
2d ago
Digital policy has been the source of seemingly never-ending frustration for years in Canada. The government chose to prioritize two flawed bills on online streaming and online news, both of which sparked considerable opposition, lengthy delays, and ultimately delivered few actual benefits (Bill C-11 faces at least another year of hearings at the CRTC, Bill C-18 is a disaster that has left many media companies worse off). Its 2021 consultation on online harms was so badly received that it was quickly shelved and has required nearly three years to recover. The policies it should have prioritiz ..read more
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More Free Money: Media Lobby Campaigning For Even More Government Funding, Grants and Tax Reform
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
4d ago
The proverbial ink is barely dry on the disastrous Bill C-18, yet the Canadian media lobby has already moved onto the next targets for government funding, grants, and tax reform. The effort, which is seemingly designed to ensure that government funding or regulation cover the entire cost of news, focuses on extending grants, expanding provincial tax credits, and overhauling the tax treatment of ad spending. It has hard to overstate how dangerous these policies have become as the sector’s addiction to government funding and regulation has come at an enormous cost that erodes public trust and c ..read more
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Bid to End Crown Copyright is Back: MP Brian Masse’s Bill C-374 Would Remove Copyright from Government Works
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
1w ago
Crown copyright, which grants the government exclusive copyright in any any work that is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control, has long been the focus on copyright and open government advocates who have called for its elimination. Under the current system of crown copyright that dates back for decades, government departments can use copyright to limit the publication or distribution of public works. While the government moved away from paid licensing to a non-commercial licence in 2010, commercial uses are still subject to permission and licence. The i ..read more
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 192: Kate Robertson on the Privacy, Expression and Affordability Risks in Bill C-26
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
1w ago
Bill C-26, alternately described as a cyber-security, critical infrastructure or telecom bill, remains largely below the radar screen despite its serious implications for privacy, expression, and affordable network access. The bill is currently being studied at a House of Commons committee that seems more interested in partisan political gamesmanship rather than substantive hearings. Kate Robertson is lawyer and senior research associate at the Citizen Lab in the Munk School at the University of Toronto who is a former criminal counsel and the co-author of one of the most extensive Bill C-26 ..read more
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The House of Cards Crumbles: Why the Bell Media Layoffs and Government’s Failed Media Policy are Connected
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
1w ago
Bell’s announcement this week that it is laying off thousands of workers – including nearly 500 Bell Media employees – has sparked political outrage with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterizing it as a “garbage decision.” The job losses are obviously brutal for those directly affected and it would be silly to claim that a single policy response was responsible. Yet to suggest that the government’s media policy, particularly Bills C-11 and C-18, played no role is to ignore the reality of a failed approach for which there have been blinking warning signs for years. Indeed, Trudeau’s anger ..read more
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 191: Luca Bertuzzi on the Making of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
2w ago
European countries reached agreement late last week on a landmark legislative package to regulate artificial intelligence. AI regulation  has emerged as a key issue over the past year as the explosive growth of ChatGPT and other generative AI services have sparked legislation, lawsuits and national consultations. The EU AI Act is heralded as the first of its kind and as a model for Canadian AI rules. Luca Bertuzzi is a Brussels-based tech journalist who was widely regarded as the leading source of information and analysis about the unfolding negotiations involving the EU AI Act. He joins ..read more
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Bill S-210 is Just the Beginning: How a Canadian Digital Lobby Group is Promoting a Standard to “Foster Widespread Adoption of Age Verification Technologies in Canada”
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
3w ago
This week’s Law Bytes podcast features a revealing discussion with Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, the chief architect and lead defender of Bill S-210 or the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act. It may be the most dangerous Internet bill you’ve never heard of since it contemplates measures that raise privacy concerns, website blocking, and extend far beyond pornography sites to include search and social media. The bill started in the Senate and is now in the House of Commons, where last year Conservative, NDP, and Bloc MPs voted alongside a small number of Liberal MPs in ..read more
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 190: Debating Bill S-210 – Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne Defends Her Internet Age Verification Bill
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
3w ago
I’ve described Bill S-210, the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act, as the most dangerous Internet bill you’ve never heard of as it contemplates measures that raise privacy concerns, website blocking, and extend far beyond pornography sites to include search and social media. The bill started in the Senate and having passed there is now in the House of Commons, where MPs voted in favour of it at second reading and sent it to committee for further study. Senator Julie Mivelle-Dechêne is the chief architect and lead defender of the bill. A former Radio-Canada broadcas ..read more
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Canadian Copyright in the Age of Generative AI: My Submission to the Government’s Copyright Consultation
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
1M ago
The government’s consultation on copyright and generative AI closed last week. The submissions are not yet public, but I am pleased to post my submission, which focused on an exception for text and data mining, the inclusion of copyrighted works in large language models, and the copyright implications of outputs from generative AI systems. My submission noted that the consultation raises several questions related to generative AI and copyright. I focused on three: (1)  Should Canada proceed with a text and data mining exception as recommended in the 2019 Copyright Act review? (2)&nb ..read more
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The Year in Review: Top Ten Law Bytes Podcast Episodes
Michael Geist Blog
by Michael Geist
2M ago
The final Law Bytes podcast of 2023 released last week took a look back at the year in digital policy. With the podcast on a holiday break, this post looks back at the ten most popular episodes of the year. Reviews and previews remain popular as did Bill C-11, Bill C-18, and discussion of the state of telecom competition in Canada. 1. The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 176: A Mid-Summer Update on Bills C-11, C-18, the Government’s Cabinet Shuffle, and the Brewing Battle over Digital Taxes 2. The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 156: Senator Paula Simons on Why the Government Should Accept the Senate’s ..read more
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