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Canadian Commission Won't Regulate the Internet

After a review beginning last July, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has concluded that new media on the Internet are achieving the goals of the Broadcasting Act and are successful without regulation.

The CRTC is concerned that any attempt to regulate Canadian new media might put the industry at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.

The CRTC has decided regarding Internet transmissions that everything transmitted that is predominantly alphanumeric text is, by definition, not broadcasting under the Broadcasting Act.

It has determined that material which is significantly "customizable" or capable of tailoring by the individual user, does not involve the transmission of programs for reception by the public and is, therefore, not broadcasting.

Remaining material would fall within the definition of broadcasting under the Broadcasting Act, but will be exempt from regulation for a number of reasons, including:
  • The new media complement, rather than substitute for traditional broadcasting. Before the new media could substitute for traditional media, key technological and other developments would have to take place.
  • There is a substantial Canadian presence on the Internet today, supported by demand for Canadian new media content.
  • Generally applicable Canadian laws, industry self regulation, content filtering software as well as increased media awareness are appropriate tools to deal with offensive and illegal content on the Internet.