Canada wants to force YouTube, TikTok and other video- and audio-sharing sites to prominently feature more of the country’s artists, a move that digital-law experts and former government officials call one of the most aggressive internet regulations yet from a Western country.
The aim to promote domestic content on the sites is a step in the Canadian government’s multipronged effort to get the world’s biggest digital companies to contribute more financially to the country’s economy. Canada has vowed to levy a digital-services tax starting in 2022, regardless of whether there is a global deal among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members on such a tax this summer.
The Liberal government also intends to follow Australia in trying to get digital platforms to compensate media outlets for content, and to create a new regulator to police hate speech and other harmful online activity.
Here is more from the WSJ. I recall being a participant in trade negotiation sessions, way back when, and saying to the Canadian rep.: “What are you going to do when everyone consumes culture through the internet? Enforce quotas on that too?”
Even back then, of course, I understood that it was the pro-Canadian effort that was being valued in policies such as these, not the results per se. Perhaps the equilibrium is that the regulators tell the tech companies they have to tweak the algorithm to favor more Canadian content, there isn’t really an enforceable standard, the tech companies do in fact tweak the algorithms somewhat, culture consumption changes only marginally, and everyone goes away “happy enough.”