OTTAWA-YouTube says Canadian digital content creators, including influencers and broadcasters, could lose revenue overseas if Ottawa forces online platforms to promote Canadian content.
The proposed law that would require YouTube and other online streaming platforms to actively promote Canadian content could harm the popularity of that content overseas, according to a memo from the company, viewed on the condition that do not attribute it to a particular manager. It also means depriving many Canadian YouTubers of the revenue they trust, it has been warned.
YouTube is concerned that Liberal’s proposed online streaming law, intended to promote Canadian content, could break the algorithms used by platforms to align content delivery closer to users ’preferences.
Professor Michael Geist, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Internet and Electronic Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, also believes the bill could have such a detrimental effect.
“Canada is currently playing in the big leagues when it comes to content creation, a sector that brings in billions of dollars in revenue worldwide,” Professor Geist said. “We’re talking about huge potential revenue loss for content producers in Canada.”
According to him, Bill C-11 would see platforms like YouTube and TikTok “force feed Canadian content” that people would not have chosen to watch in the first place, instead of curated content relevant to their taste. However, if people do not choose the Canadian content offered to them, it may suggest that this content is not popular, which could lead to less promotion in the world.
No thumbs up, no visibility
YouTube’s cross-border algorithm can detect if a video was watched, skipped, or muted along the way, and whether it got a “thumbs up” or not. It influences how content is promoted not just in Canada, but around the world. So it’s harder to find videos that very few are watching.
If people don’t choose the Canadian content offered to them, if they indicate they don’t like it or just choose a different video, it can lead to the automatic downgrading, in the world, of content that hasn’t been. selected, not “liked”, or not viewed until the end.
The bill, currently on second reading in the House of Commons, would subject online streaming companies, such as Netflix, to the same rules as traditional Canadian broadcasters. This will force online companies to offer content quotas in Canada and invest heavily in Canada’s cultural industries, including film, television and music.
Bill C-11 would update the Broadcasting Act, enacted in 1991, before the internet revolution, which drastically changed the way people listened to music or watched movies and videos.
The bill also covers platforms like YouTube and TikTok, which promote strictly digital content creators, such as influencers or youtubers who post DIY videos and live commentary on video games.
The federal government said the bill would not regulate user-generated material, and would give platforms the ability to decide how they promote Canadian content.
Laura Scaffidi, spokeswoman for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, said the law would give online streaming platforms the flexibility to “choose how they contribute and how they facilitate the search for Canadian commercial content . “
YouTube says more than 90% of the viewing time for content produced by Canadian YouTube channels will come from outside the country in 2020. The number of Canadian creators earning $ 100,000 per platform is growing rapidly. years.
In 2020, Oxford Economics calculated that YouTube contributed $ 923 million to Canada’s gross domestic product, including payments from advertisements associated with YouTube videos and royalty payments to record labels. Popular videos tend to receive a larger amount of advertising, and advertisers are likely to pay higher.
Bill C-11 updates sections of a previous bill, after fears by some that the government would regulate people who post videos on YouTube.
The updated bill, Rodriguez said, would only cover commercial social media content, such as professional music videos, and would not include popular home videos posted on YouTube, such as cats video. Mr. Rodriguez added a line to the new bill to exempt such content.
But according to YouTube, legal analysis of the current text will still give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to regulate user-generated material.
“Clearer definitions and more specific language are needed to ensure that the bill does not inadvertently apply to digital creators and negatively affect the thousands of Canadian creators on YouTube. And the millions of Canadians who use YouTube today. -day, ”said Jeanette Patell, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy at YouTube Canada.
“Minister Rodriguez is clear that Bill C-11 is not intended to affect digital creators. We are committed to working with officials to ensure that this goal is accurately reflected in this very complex piece of legislation. “