Monday, April 02, 2007

Stupid Canadian Broadcasters

And not just broadcasters, but apparently artists as well. Michael Geist has written another great article titled "More Web regulation doesn't make any sense", on how Canadian broadcasters and artists want the CRTC to regulate the internet to protect Canadian content. To be fair, it may not be all artists or broadcasters, but the organizations that represent them sure want it.

There's not much I can add to what he said. His line "It is increasingly clear that the blossoming of new media is a threat to old business models, not to Canadian content" sums it up very clearly.

The internet is a huge opportunity for Canadian broadcasters, if they would only take it. They have the ability to put up all the Canadian content they want. I've written before about how CTV is turning away Linux and Mac users from viewing online material and making it difficult for Firefox users. I've also written about the CBC wanting to DRM promotional videos. CBC doesn't make it easy to link to individual videos, and won't even allow people to embed their Google videos in their websites.

That's a little like a real estate salesman talking to his boss:

"Uh, boss, you know all those flyers for new homes I've been passing out? People are copying them and passing them out to other people. How do we stop them?"


"Yes boss?"

"You're not very bright, are you?"

They aren't even doing the simplest things like using the internet to make it easy for people to find out what's on and where. The webmaster of TV, Eh?, an independant website dedicated solely to promoting Canadian television, has difficulty finding listings or getting the PR people to email her listings.

They don't know how to use the internet, but it scares them, so they want to limit how we use it.

In his first published story Life-Line, published in 1939, Robert Heinlein had a judge saying this:

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profits in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit.
Now that was a judge with common sense. Unfortunately he's a fictional character.

That's not to say I think the CRTC is going to try to regulate Canadian content on the internet. I'm hoping there are some people with enough common sense to realize how ridiculous these demands are. I'm just a little tired of old dinosaurs trying to stop progress, instead of using it for their advantage.

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