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Feds admit that yes, user-generated content is regulated by streaming law

By Quinn Patrick, True North Wire

Federal lawyers have admitted what the heritage minister previously denied – that the Online Streaming Act will regulate content uploaded by ordinary users.

For years, consecutive heritage ministers vowed that user-generated content would be off-limits from regulatory control.

Yet in a recent legal battle with Google over revenue compensation, Justice Department lawyers employed admitted that “the Act does allow for regulation of user-uploaded programs on social media services.”

For nearly two years MPs and other government ministers told Canadians that their fears regarding government regulation of their online content were unfounded. Former Canadian heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez mockingly said “no cat videos” would be regulated.

“We made it very clear in the Online Streaming Act that this does not apply to what individual Canadians and creators post online,” said Rodriguez.

“No users, no online creators will be regulated. No digital-first creators, no influencers, no cat videos. Only the companies themselves will have new responsibilities.”

Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa Michael Geist told True North that while he doesn’t think the admission will have an immediate impact on users, it does indicate that regulating user content is on the table in the long run.

“That does not appear to be on the agenda at the moment, but will remain a source of concern for as long as it remains within the legislation,” said Geist.

“Further, the fact that the government consistently denied this was the case even as its justice department confirms in court that those regulatory powers exist undermines public confidence in the legislation and will leave many feeling that they’ve been gaslit by the government on this law.”


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