Commons committee calls for strict rules on streaming services, online piracy

Written by on May 15, 2019

OTTAWA — An all-party committee of MPs is recommending the government set stricter rules for Canadian content on foreign streaming services and a crackdown on internet piracy.

The House of Commons heritage committee’s final report on its review of the federal Copyright Act asks the federal government to make foreign-based streaming services such as those run by Netflix, Amazon and Apple contribute to the creation of Canadian content.

The report says while those platforms have simplified the way that Canadians consume film and television, the shift to digital has meant a decline in payments to domestic artists.

There are no policies requiring digital streaming services based outside the country to help fund the production of content in this country, the committee noted.

The effect has been an erosion of artists’ ability to earn middle-class livings thanks to a system that has “diverted wealth from creators to large digital intermediaries,” the committee said.

The committee also asks the government to crack down harder on people sharing content illegally, noting that witnesses asked the government to increase punishments and fines.

The committee also recommends the federal government look at crafting new rules and laws so that internet service providers can be held accountable for the illegal distribution of copyrighted material on their networks.

However, the NDP’s heritage critic was critical of some inconsistencies in the majority report. Montreal-area MP Pierre Nantel wrote that the committee’s report addresses several concerns from cultural industries, but also objects that it suggests tighter regulations for music services like Spotify and YouTube Music than for video streaming services like Netflix or YouTube.

The committee’s report is the latest in a series that have called on the government to make legislative changes to copyright and Canadian content rules.

One year ago, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission recommended the Liberals regulate any online video or music service and have them pay to create and promote more domestic content.

The Canadian Press


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