A newly-proposed piece of legislation out of Canada dubbed “The Online Streaming Act” will impact the likes of user-generated content, according to officials, raising concerns of intense online censorship imposed by the Canadian government.

Ian Scott, the chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), confirmed that Bill C-11, “The Online Streaming Act,” will impose the regulations outlined within the broadcasting and telecommunications guidelines on “user uploaded content” online.

CRTC General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director Rachelle Frenette made attempts to tone down the potential impacts of far-reaching legislation, asserting that CRTC regulations would online be applied toward online platforms and not individual users.

However, when one considers online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and numerous others, these platforms rely wholly on and consist of user-generated content – thereby meaning CRTC regulations imposed on a platform fall directly upon the content users generate.

The most that Frenette would admit to is that the CRTC regulations could “issue rules with respect to discoverability,” of some user-generated content uploaded online. Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, mentioned that Frenette even water-down description of Bill C-11 is “entirely consistent with the concerns of digital creators, namely that platforms will be required to develop outcomes that result in some content being prioritized in the name of discoverability.”

Bill C-11 has managed to attract critics across the spectrum in Canada, from politicians, content creators, and of course online platforms.

Canadian-based YouTuber Justin Tomchuk, who operates two YouTube channels that boast hundreds of thousands of subscribers, decried how Bill C-11 could “deprioritize Canadian content to an international audience.”

Even YouTube testified before Canadian officials that Bill C-11 simply goes too far and allows the CRTC to potentially choose “who wins and who loses” in the online space of content creators.

“If this Bill passes as written, the CRTC could determine what content should be promoted in Canada, and how Canadian creators advertise against their content. This approach puts the regulator between viewers and creators, handing the CRTC the power to decide who wins and who loses. Bill C-11 could deeply hurt Canadian creators and viewers.”

Furthermore, YouTube also pointed out that, if passed, Bill C-11 could also wind up hurting the content creators CRTC wants to artificially boost on their own platform due to users being “recommended content that is not personally relevant,” and simply abandoning the video or even giving “it a ‘thumbs down’” which could see the content “demoted in search results around the world” because YouTube’s algorithm “system learns that this content is not relevant or engaging.”

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Canadian Conservative Party Member of Parliament Dr. Leslyn Lewis also claims Bill C-11 as it stands would “give the government power to control your internet choices and impose their own,” which is a “dangerous” scenario.

This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on June 2, 2022. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.

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