Online streaming giants YouTube and TikTok are asking Canadian senators to take a second look at an online streaming bill they say will hurt Canadian digital creators.

TikTok executive Steve D’Ayre told a Senate committee Wednesday evening that the federal Liberals’ Bill C-11 not only fails to protect digital creators from regulation, it harms them.

He said the Senate should more clearly exclude user-generated content from the bill, which was designed to modernize Canadian broadcasting law and bring online streaming platforms into the fold.


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Senators should also consider rules on how Canadian content is identified, he said, noting that most of the content Canadians create on TikTok would not qualify.


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The onus could fall on consumers to prove how Canadian they are, meaning “established media voices and cultural voices” with more resources could be at the forefront, D’Ayre said. who is the company’s director of public policy and government affairs in Canada

YouTube executive Janet Patel told senators the bill gives Canadian broadcasting regulators more discretion to make demands related to user-generated content.

He said the condition the regulator could consider whether someone earned direct or indirect income from the content would affect “effectively everything” on the platform.

“This is a global precedent,” said Patel, YouTube’s head of government affairs and public policy.

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He warned that if other countries follow suit, Canadian creators, for whom 90 percent of YouTube views come from outside the country, will have a hard time getting noticed. “There’s nothing like this for open platforms in the world. It really puts the international audience of creators at risk.”

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Patel also warned that the regulator may require changes to the company’s algorithm, echoing concerns raised by music streaming giant Spotify during a hearing last week.

That fear is based on committee testimony from Ian Scott, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Scott told senators in June that the regulator could ask platforms like YouTube to “manipulate” its algorithms to produce certain results.

In a meeting last week, Spotify’s head of artist and label partnerships for Canada, Nathan Wizniak, said that affecting the way the platform makes recommendations for individual listeners would be against his opinion and negative for songs. Can create impressions. Recommended

“By asking services to repeatedly bias recommendations against listener preferences, we att*ck the fundamental trust we’ve built with our customers,” he said.

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Some Quebec senators pushed back on the idea that requiring algorithms to drive users to Canadian content is a bad thing.

Senator Julie Meville-Dechaine said the bill requires companies to choose the means by which Canadian artists can be discovered. “Do you have any means other than algorithms to promote Canadian content?” he asked Patel. “Why are you afraid?”

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Sen. René Cormier, for his part, noticed during his use of YouTube that the algorithm was recommending Anglophone music to listen to after Quebec artist Ariane Moffatt, whom he repeatedly name-dropped. “I’m trying to understand why you can’t just keep playing the same kind of music I’m already listening to,” he said. “Why am I being taken elsewhere in the recommendations?”

Patel said that YouTube is about “you” and that its users train the algorithm to meet their needs — so he recommended that Cormier “teach” the platform what he’s looking for. . When Canadians come looking for Canadian content, he said, “we absolutely want to serve it up for them.”

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Although D’Ayre said that TikTok is “democratizing discovery,” Bernadette Clement, a senator from Ontario, pointed out that “it’s not democratic if people don’t know how the algorithms work.” Patel and D. Iyer responded by saying that their companies were making their source code and raw data available to researchers.

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Streaming companies are recommending specific changes to the bill’s language that they say will address their concerns.

In June, before Parliament’s summer recess, the House of Commons passed Bill C-11 with more than 150 amendments. The Senate decided not to rush its approval and instead to conduct a more in-depth review this fall.

If senators decide to amend the bill, it must be sent back to the House of Commons for approval before it becomes law.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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