The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) wants to carve out a Canadian identity online in the most Canadian of ways – by creating a tax:
Amid fears that Canada’s culture is being drowned in a sea of online video from around the world, federal regulators are looking at setting up a $100-million fund to support homegrown programming on the Internet.
The controversial proposal, which is aimed at staking out a more distinct national identity online, has pitted the television production community against Canada’s Internet service providers, who may ultimately have to foot the bill, or pass those costs onto customers.
This is of course prompted by Canadian artists who want a share of the pie:
Organizations representing Canadian artists told the CRTC yesterday that the evolution of the Internet in the past decade has rendered it no different from television, given the amount of online video being consumed. The average Canadian spends 46 hours a month online, and 83 per cent of people now watch video content, data from the regulator suggests.
“The Internet is just another media-distribution platform like any other that we’ve had,” said Stephen Waddell, executive director of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. “And in our view, if the CRTC doesn’t give some opportunity to Canadian content to have a place on that platform, we’re going to be immersed in non-Canadian content.”
This completely misrepresents the point of the quoted statistic. The interned may be another media platform but if so, it is one where the average Canadian spends 46 hours per month avoiding existing television, including Canadian content.
The production community says that such a fund will support jobs across the country, though it seems difficult to understand why that is the responsibility of the average Internet user.
These people fail to realize that the Internet is not a place that exists to support jobs; it is a place where kids with a cheap video camera create their own "Canadian content." They also fail to explain how they would change that.
If Internet users want Canadian content they will simply create it. A new tax isn’t going to change that.
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