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Canadian Music Organization Says Bill C-11 Will Hurt Artists and Companies

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Network Music Group, a Canadian music organization and intellectual property brand builder, on Thursday spoke out against the federal government’s highly controversial broadcast bill (via @SwBenzie).

Bill C-11 was tabled by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez in February as an amendment to the Broadcasting Act. The legislation aims to give the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) authority over online streaming companies in a similar way to which the watchdog regulates traditional broadcasters.

Bill C-11 has come under fire for fears that it would regulate user-generated content on social media platforms.

Minister Rodriguez has said that Bill C-11 is designed to target “big online streamers” and commercial content such as music on YouTube. However, CRTC representatives told MPs on Tuesday that the regulator will have “some authority” over user-generated content once the bill is passed.

As for music, Ottawa claims that the amendment will help Canadian artists gain more exposure and make more money. However, Nettwerk argued in its statement that Bill C-11 “represents a fundamental misunderstanding of our industry and how musical artists are discovered and fanbases are built in today’s streaming landscape.”

The music group knocked on the Liberal’s proposal for offering outdated solutions in search of a problem. “Bill C-11 is legislation with the potential for significant negative impacts on the businesses of Canadian music companies and Canadian artists focused on building a global audience,” said Nettwerk.

The music group believes Bill C-11 is misguided and needs reform if it is to achieve what the government and CRTC say it is intended for. “We state unequivocally that, as drafted, Bill C11 represents legislation that is harmful to the Canadian music industry and that it will not achieve its stated or intended aims.”

“It will hurt Canadian artists and Canadian music companies, not help them,” the organization concluded.

According to Nettwerk, the current state of Bill C-11 calls for more consultation and discussion with stakeholders.

Experts have previously cast doubt over whether the internet and online platforms even fall within the CRTC’s wheelhouse. Professor Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet and eCommerce law at the University of Ottawa, previously questioned whether the CRTC has the technical expertise to regulate online media.

However, the CRTC has largely and repeatedly shrugged off critics’ concerns regarding the scope and language of the legislation.

Bill C-11 has faced heavy opposition from tech corporations and even telecom companies. In addition, YouTube has warned the bill could inadvertently hurt Canadian content creators.

Bill C-11 is currently making its way through parliament.

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