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The Liberal government’s controversial online streaming law has returned to the House of Commons, where MPs are set to debate Senate amendments.
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Also known as Bill C-11, it would require large technology companies that offer online streaming services, such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify, to subscribe to Canadian content.
If passed, the bill would update broadcasting laws to include online streaming and require those companies to make Canadian content available to users in Canada — or face steep penalties.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said his intention is to reject several Senate amendments that do not comply with the spirit of the bill, including one that aims to protect creators who upload videos to YouTube.
He said the proposed reform would allow large tech companies to avoid paying into the media fund.
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“We know the work that has been done (the Senate) and we will accept many of the reforms that are accepted,” Rodriguez said Wednesday.
“As promised, we are adopting reforms that ensure that the tech giants pay their fair share to our culture, and we are reducing reforms that create curses. That’s what Canadian artists and creators have asked us to do. “
YouTube, which has given the change, said it would have protected the lives of digital creators.
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“It is unclear and deeply troubling for thousands of Canadian creators that the Senate’s efforts to add common sense to this legislation could be rejected,” said Jeanette Patell, head of Canadian government affairs and public policy for YouTube. , in a statement.
“We hope that legislators listen to creator concerns, and we are committed to advocating for creators and users in Canada every step of the way.”
Digital First Canada, a group that advocates for Canada’s millions of online content creators, also expressed disappointment in Rodriguez’s decision, saying it was a “slap in the face” to creators involved in the legislative process and to councils “who recognize these creators as the future of Canada’s digital economy. “
“It is shocking that the second thought of the Senate has been rejected, and the government continues to act as if digital creators are not legitimate artists and entrepreneurs,” said Scott Benzie, director of Digital First Canada, in a statement affect.
“But the voices of developers and their communities will not be ignored. We are not going anywhere _ and this government and the legacy media will just have to get used to it. “
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The bill is awaiting a final vote in the House of Commons, but House Speaker Mark Holland doubts it will pass with Senate support despite the proposed amendments.
It is also expected that Liberals will strike down a proposal that would have required companies to verify the ages of users before they can access pornographic material online.
“We’re dedicated to passing this legislation so I think you’re going to see very broad support from the House on this legislation,” Holland said Wednesday.
“We will have a complete response to the reforms of the Senate and I am very confident that the Senate will accept our decision.”
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The government’s Senate reforms plan to include the promotion of indigenous languages and Black content creators, and ensure that funds collected from technology giants go towards promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
Rodriguez also agreed with Sen. Paula Simons, who amended to remove a word from the bill that he described as giving “different new powers to the government to make political decisions about things.”
The Senate introduced that change after Ian Scott, the former chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission, told a committee that some provisions in the bill placed the balance point “a little towards reducing the independence” of the regulator _ though he stressed that he will be free.
If passed, the CRTC will be tasked with implementing the bill’s provisions.
© 2023 The Canadian Press