New Podcasting registry for Canada: already causing a stir. Do you need to register your small business podcast?
New Podcasting Registry for Canada
What is the new registry? The CRTC, the folks in charge of broadcasting federally, have decided that podcasters, audio and/or visual services, adult content web sites, online news sites must be registered if they make over $10 million or more in Canadian revenue. Details on registry here.
Cry Freedom of Speech
Sure enough critics are crying Freedom of Speech. Informed critics know that in Canada we have Freedom of Expression in our charter of rights and freedoms. While our constitution allows the government to override that right on occasion they must have a very good reason (hate speech, inciting violence for example). Also the government must consider that right before bringing in new legislation.
Does the registry interfere with freedom of expression? If you are forced to reveal you are behind a web site with controversial content, then yes.
I think the important concern is will this lead to the CRTC applying broadcasting rules to podcasting and other online services. Another concern is that the CRTC will now regulate user generated content with commercial revenue involved.
New rules for podcasting
The CRTC, Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, wants to regulate podcasting, audio and visual services, online news sites but claims it can’t until those companies register. Maybe if the federal government didn’t pick a fight with Google the CRTC could search for those companies instead.
While the CRTC has limited the registry to companies making over $10 million it does it does not mean that the CRTC won’t bring in rules affecting every podcaster, every streaming service, online news sites, etc. And pay a license fee for the privilege. Small businesses that rely on podcasting for revenue and marketing need to watch the CRTC and Bill C-11 closely.
As we saw when the federal government brought in the link tax, it adversely affected not only major media outlets adversely but also smaller organizations such as university newspapers, The Tyee, etc.
Applying broadcasting rules to podcasting
The CRTC currently regulates news providers like CBC, CTV and Global. The CRTC mandates that those new services provide balanced coverage of events. A good example is federal election night, each station has a panel with folks representing the three or more parties to comment on events.
The CRTC also mandates things like providing both English and French service, Canadian content, the national do not call list, anti-spam legislation.
With the new registry, the CRTC will attempt to regulate services like Apple Podcasts and Spotify which will affect small business podcasts. Jesse Brown from the popular CanadaLand raises the concern that this act will force services like Apple Podcasts from Canada.
This legislation comes at the same time the federal government introduces Bill C-27 Artificial Intelligence and Data Act.