Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Industry Calls on CRTC for Anti-Piracy Action

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Industry Calls on CRTC for Anti-Piracy Action

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Industry calls on CRTC for anti-piracy action


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Feb. 1:

It's a tricky business, this putting-genies-back-in-bottles thing.

That's essentially what the federal broadcast regulator has been asked to do by a coalition of media companies, production organizations and content creators who have declared it's time for Canada to address the immensely challenging issue of online piracy.

The newly formed coalition, named FairPlay Canada, has called on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to establish an independent agency to "identify websites blatantly engaged in content theft" and then require internet service providers (ISPs) to block their subscribers from accessing such illegal content.

FairPlay Canada is comprised of more than 25 organizations, including major broadcast undertakings such as Bell Media, Rogers Communications, Quebecor Media and the CBC, union interests and professional organizations including the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Canadian Media Producers Association, the Directors Guild of Canada and Unifor, and independent entities, such as the Movie Theatre Association of Canada, Cineplex Inc. and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

What they're after is fairly simple -- protection of their intellectual property, content ownership and fairly negotiated regional (Canadian) distribution rights, and the associated revenue streams. Achieving their goal, however, is very complicated; the CRTC, which for years has struggled with the issue of how -- if at all -- it should regulate online services and content, will have a difficult time creating a framework to deal with FairPlay's request. It will have an even harder job enforcing whatever rules the desired independent agency might seek to apply.

At issue, in large part, is the fact internet piracy is so deeply entrenched in the digital-age mindset that there exists an entire generation -- as well as millions of content consumers of slightly more advanced years who have developed a taste for plundering the cyber-realm -- that has grown up with the assumption that everything online, from music to movies to news and beyond, should be free. …

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