Colin Mochrie recently wrote an article about how there aren’t any Canadian content regulations for the Internet:

He’s an old media personality and it’s clear from the article that he doesn’t really understand how the Internet works. His biggest mistake is that he is using the “old media” model for production. The CRTC’s rules for old media were intended to reduce barriers for entry into the TV industry (production costs, distribution). For Internet productions, those barriers are virtually non-existent. You can make movies with a $500 video camera, some free editing software and you don’t even have to pay actors (like Colin Mochrie). One of Canada’s funniest Internet comedians is Jon LaJoie. His videos are very low budget, yet he’s one of the most popular producers on YouTube.

He is right about there being lots of Canadian content out there on the Internet, all mixed in with the rest.  Sometimes there are only subtle clues that let us know that it’s Canadian. For example, this picture below (which has been featured on many “funny pictures” sites) should count as Canadian content:


Did you see it? The newspaper on the toilet is the “Times Globe”, a defunct newspaper from Saint John, NB.

Now, look at this entry from failblog:


Did you notice the web site on that ad? It’s from Halifax, NS.

Here’s another one that’s been floating around for several years:


As you’ll see, it’s a clipping from the National Post.

We’ll never know how many pictures of funny cats, badly parked cars, or people falling of skateboards are from Canada. Should we really care? They don’t really define or promote our culture.

There is plenty of Canadian content on the web, it’s just not easy to identify and most of it doesn’t get government grants.  If he wants a “showcase” of Canadian content, he should go find it and start a web site that showcases it. In today’s world, if you want change, you get off your butt and start a web site.

The technical requirements for any kind of ISP filtering would be a nightmare to implement. How do you identify Canadian content when it’s mixed in with everything else? Sure, the ISPs could partner with YouTube and other sites to explicitly identify Canadian content, but for every YouTube, there are hundreds of other sites who will have no interest in segregating content.

What about porn? A lot of Internet traffic is for porn, would the proposed ISP levy support the porn industry?

I suspect his position is just to shill for ACTRA so actors get paid more when their TV shows are streamed from broadcaster’s web sites. He also wants to start a fund for “new media” ventures, presumably so that ACTRA actors will get paid. This is just the classic protectionist attitude that the CRTC has heralded for years.  Hopefully common sense will prevail.

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