Introducing Canadian content regulations for radio helped strengthen Canada's domestic music industry and the same could be done for the country's new media creative community, according to groups speaking at the CRTC's new media hearing on Wednesday.
Representatives from the Canadian Independent Record Production Association and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada echoed Tuesday's appeal by other creative groups that the federal broadcast regulator should step in and begin regulating internet and new media.
"We don't suggest you put up a wall [barring foreign content]," CIRPA chair and True North Records founder Bernie Finkelstein urged CRTC commissioners.
"We suggest you help us and make our home market healthy for Canadians ... We know that it's worked [in the past]."
SOCAN — which counts composers, lyricists, songwriters and music publishers among its more than 25,000-strong membership — urged the CRTC to adopt a new media policy that blends incentive and regulation.
"Incentives are there to promote the creation of Canadian content," said Gilles Valiquette, a composer, singer-songwriter and member of SOCAN's board.
Regulation will ensure "there is meaningful access [to this] Canadian content," added Paul Spurgeon, SOCAN's vice-president, legal services and general council.
"We don't want to force Canadians to watch anything. We want to make sure they have access to Canadian content," Spurgeon said.
The SOCAN representatives also suggested that if any Canadian content requirements are introduced for new media, they should be similar to the preponderance of Canadian channels requirement for broadcasters.
Though CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein said in his opening statement that the hearings must "respect the principles of openness and individual choice that govern the internet while maintaining access to, and for, Canadian stories, opinions and ideas," he bristled somewhat on Wednesday at the repeated sentiment that since the CRTC had enacted Canadian content requirements for radio, it must do the same for new media.
"It's a different technology and has different accessibility," he said, adding that new media issue is markedly different than traditional broadcasting because the internet allows consumers to choose whatever content they wish versus having to accept what a broadcaster decides to carry.
"It's different than traditional media ... We are not in that universe anymore, yet you are asking me to regulate based on that old model," von Finckenstein said.
The hearings continue on Monday.