Government Rejects Clause To Protect Digital Creators
March 8, 2023 – After the Senate adopted a helpful amendment in Bill C-11 to protect digital creators and user-generated content, the government has decided to once again disregard the concerns of thousands of digital creators across the country. Now, Canadian creators are taking a stand to urge MP’s to save the Senate amendment to section 4.2, and protect their online businesses.
“Since the Bill was tabled a year ago, thousands of digital creators have raised the alarm and shared their concerns with policymakers,” said Scott Benzie, Director of Digital First Canada. “It’s shocking that the Senate’s sober second thought was dismissed, and that the government continues to act as though digital creators are not legitimate artists and entrepreneurs. But the voices of creators and their communities will not be ignored. We aren’t going anywhere – and this government and legacy media are just going to have to get used to it.”
Bill C-11 is the modernization of the Broadcasting Act, that’s currently waiting for a final vote in the House of Commons. After a comprehensive study, the Senate adopted an amendment to section 4.2 (2) of the Bill to more clearly exclude user-generated content and content from digital creators from regulation.
The amendment reflects what the Minister of Heritage has always said – that the government does not seek to regulate digital creators and their “cat videos”.
During the Committee and Senate review, creators testified, contacted policymakers, and shared their concern on social media. To-date, over 50,000 creators, Canadians and concerned global citizens have sent a letter to local MPs and Senators through the Digital First Canada website. For many creators, this was their first time engaging in public policy, and throughout the entire process, creators were met with hostility and gaslit. Today’s motion is a slap in the face to the creators who spoke up and participated in this process, and to the Senators who recognized these creators as the future of Canada’s digital economy. It’s never been more clear that this government is picking winners, and choosing legacy media over new, creative entrepreneurs. Digital creators are now calling on Members of Parliament to protect digital creators, save the Senate amendment to Section 4.2 (2) and #FixC11.
“Policymakers reached out to schedule a meeting, only to ignore my response and follow-ups,” said digital creator Gregor Reynolds. “Rejecting this amendment is another example of creator voices being wilfully ignored. Bill C-11 could impact how I make my money, and the democratization of digital entertainment as a whole. I appreciate the Senate’s work reviewing this, but it’s discouraging that the work of digital creators is still not being considered, or protected.”
“At Skyship, it’s a source of pride that our Canadian-made content is exported and viewed across the globe,” said Morghan Fortier, CEO of Skyship Entertainment, with 37 million subscribers on channel, Super Simple Songs. “But it’s pretty evident that the people who drafted this bill did not understand how it could impact digital creators across the country. It was incredible to see the Senate’s willingness to hear our concerns, and there’s a real opportunity for MP’s to push back against the rejected amendment and stand up for digital creators.”
“I appreciate the intent of Bill C-11 in trying to help Canadian artists and creators,” said Oorbee Roy, with 179,000 followers on TikTok. “But the Bill as currently written, does not help digital creators. Rather, it hurts us, and it hurts all creators who aren’t the right fit or the right mould. If my video is suppressed because the CRTC decides that someone else’s content should be artificially pushed over mine, I lose my ability to get in front of my audience. That directly affects my bottom line. The simple clarifying language to the Bill could make a huge difference for thousands of creators like me.”
Digital creators who want to be heard can send a letter to their MP, and urge them to #standupforcreators, keep user-generated content out of Bill, and make sure that the government accepts the Senate amendment to Section 4.2 (2) of Bill C11. Canadian viewers and users of social platforms can also get involved by visiting digitalfirstcanada.ca and adding their voice to the conversation.