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.

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