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SOCAN Welcomes “Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act” Report

Toronto, January 29, 2020 – The federal Broadcasting & Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel today released its final report on modernizing the legislation governing Canada’s communications sector, recommending that the Federal Government introduce as quickly as possible new legislation supporting the creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content. That includes making it mandatory for online streaming companies to contribute to Canadian content, a requirement that had long been sought by SOCAN and many Canadian producers, music creators and publishers and the media industry.

The issue of “discoverability” – the challenge of regulating Canadian content in a media market where streaming customers’ viewing choices are on-demand and guided by algorithms – has been a challenging one and SOCAN is pleased that this report recommends enforcing discoverability obligations to ensure Canadian streaming content is visible and easy to find.

“Culturally, the framework must ensure that Canada’s creators continue to have the means for Canadians to be discovered in a world of so many choices,” said the report. “Netflix and other online streaming services would be required to devote a portion of their program budgets to Canadian programs. ”

“SOCAN has long advocated that the government introduce legislation that will ensure all content providers, including internet giants, offer significant levels of Canadian content in their catalogue, contribute to the creation of Canadian content, promote this content and make is easily accessible on their respective platforms,” said Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN. “We sincerely hope all parties will work together to support new legislation designed to strengthen copyright and cultural industry protection in Canada and increase and promote Canadian content. Streaming services have been great additions to the Canadian landscape, but they could contribute even more to building more Canadian choices and international audiences.”

SOCAN pledges to continue to collaborate with the federal government to find more ways to support music creators and publishers across Canada.