The Goldilocks Argument For Regulating Online Content In Canada
from the too-much,-too-little dept
That said, Rob Hyndman points us to a great analysis showing just how ridiculous it is to think that the CRTC needs to regulate online content:
Once upon a time there were only four or five television channels. Hardly anyone had the money to broadcast a television signal, and if anyone did, there were only so many spots available on the dial.It's a great point, and it's something I call the "goldilocks argument" for regulation. The original content regulations were because there was "too little" content that could be delivered over TV. Thus, there "needed" to be regulation to ensure that in that limited and scarce space, that some of it would be Canadian. But the argument now is the reverse. It's that there's "too much" content online, and thus it's hard to find good Canadian content (apparently, some people up north haven't discovered Google). So, the argument seems to be that the CRTC is needed to make sure the content is "just right" whether there's too little content or too much content available.
In such a world of "spectrum scarcity," it was argued, government regulation was essential to ensure a diversity of content--and, in Canada, to ensure that some of that content was Canadian. Or as the cultural nationalists had it, to make it possible for Canadians to "tell ourselves our own stories." This was the world in which the CRTC was born.
Flash forward 40 or 50 years, to a very different world. Not only are there now hundreds of conventional television channels catering to every conceivable taste, but with the advent of Internet broadcasting the constraints of cost and spectrum have disappeared. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Canadian websites, each of them, post-YouTube, potentially a broadcaster in its own right. It is now possible for any Canadian with a video camera and a laptop to transmit to every other Canadian. And the cultural nationalists' response? This just makes the case for more regulation.