Media experts agree action is needed, but urge caution on how streaming is regulated

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A logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore. is shown on Aug. 13, 2020. With Parliament having resumed, Canadians can expect to see the Liberal government make the reintroduction of what was previously known as Bill C-10 a priority.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jenny Kane

The Liberals have promised to quickly reintroduce legislation aimed at reforming the Broadcasting Act

The Liberals have promised to quickly reintroduce legislation aimed at reforming the Broadcasting Act, which has media experts cautioning the government against bringing newer media platforms under an old regulatory framework.

“I think everyone agrees that it’s an older piece of legislation that doesn’t fully reflect the environment that we live in,” said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor and the Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law.

The Liberal government introduced a bill, known as C-10, in November 2020 that would bring global online streaming companies, such as Netflix and YouTube, under the Broadcasting Act. It came under intense criticism over whether it would regulate user-generated content. The bill died in the Senate when Parliament was dissolved for the September election.

While its risks to the free speech of Canadians got the most attention, if the promised new legislation resembles Bill C-10, then several of its features would have a significant effect on Canada’s cultural industries.

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