Monday, June 8, 2009

A vote for keeping the Internet awesome

If you've ever wondered about the power and popularity of user-generated content in Canada, consider this: if all three Canadian television networks began broadcasting Canadian content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, YouTube would still have more Canadian content than those three networks combined.

For the past several months Canada's telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has considered whether Internet content should be regulated. I'm pleased to report that the CRTC announced last week that it will continue its hands-off approach to new media. The real standout from the decision is the concurring opinion written by Commissioner Tim Denton. His concurrence is an impassioned defense of online free speech and a thoughtful reminder of the inadequacy of broadcast regulation to fully appreciate the social, political and cultural innovation made possible by the open Internet.

In our submission to the CRTC back in December, we argued that exempting new media from regulation is the best approach to "keeping the Internet awesome," noting that Canadians have uploaded hundreds of thousands of hours of video to YouTube. The CRTC's decision is great news for the millions of Canadians who use the open Internet to create, distribute, and find diverse Canadian and global content.

1 comment:

bram said...

Good summary, Jacob -- although it is perhaps worth keeping in mind that the CRTC was always clear up front that it was not considering regulating the kind of content for which Youtube is best known (and which was the exclusive focus of Google's submission, if I remember right!). Rather, I think the most interesting part of the decision may be in the new undue-preference rules -- and in the court reference to determine just where the undue preference rules will apply, which should be of great interest to those who stream video. We have produced a summary and analysis which may be of interest.