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Are Canadians against levies on ISPs?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca. While a number of artist groups and broadcasters have called on the CRTC to impose a levy on internet service providers, a couple of new polls suggests Canadians aren't crazy about the idea.

On Thursday, Angus Reid Strategies published two online polls, both of which suggested Canadians aren't enamored with ISP levies.

The first poll said 79 per cent of respondents worried putting a levy on ISPs to fund Canadian TV programming was "an unnecessary and/or inappropriate fee that would end up being passed along to consumers." And in another poll, 73 per cent of respondents said a levy going towards artists to offset the lost revenue due to file sharing was similarly inappropriate.

The polls were based on interviews with 1,395 randomly selected Canadian adults, with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Neither poll is a direct reflection on the proposals put toward the CRTC, however, as most groups have called for the levy to support new media programming, and not television programming.

Angus Reid senior research manager Lucas Marshall told CBC News his understanding was that funds raised from a levy would go to broadcasting, and that would include both TV and new media funds. However, he acknowledged the poll was conducted before Heritage Minister James Moore actually merged the Canadian Television Fund with the Canadian New Media Fund and wasn't sure if that would change the equation.

In fact, many groups calling for the levy, including ACTRA and the Writers' Guild of Canada, were against directing the money to an all-purpose fund that might support TV programming and wanted it earmarked for new media ventures only.

It's likely true, however, that this distinction may be lost on consumers. But for now, the issue of ISP levies appears a long way from affecting the average Canadian, particularly since the ISPs themselves reject the legality of imposing them, a stance that will likely see the issue go before the courts before it shows up in our bills.

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Comments

CraigB

While this poll and many other reports make many of us realize that not only is this levy ridiculous and the hearings a waste of money, I fear for the outcome the CRTC will impose because of this piece of transcript from the hearings:


11437 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I've got my watch on, Konrad.

11438 I'm a writer, I'm a musician in my past life, content producer and am deeply passionate about the issue of how the Internet is having a flattening effect on revenues for the production community.


With commissioner's like this, how are we to expect an unbiased judgement? I hope there is some transparency as I'd love to know how Commissioner Simpson votes on this issue.

Let's hope that common sense prevails and this great country doesn't continue on the downward spiral to becoming the laughing stock of the internet.

Posted March 13, 2009 05:16 PM

Dwight Williams

I honestly don't yet know what to make of it.

We'll see what happens.

Posted March 13, 2009 09:39 PM

john hickton

mississauga

against tax. What s canadian media? I don't know if a program is canadian produced or not. My gut reaction is that many programs
(other than docs) are of inferior quality/content. I use bunny ears, but
when i see cableTV, most of the specialty channels that are receiving funding are of a dubious nature and would not survive independently.
Do we really need them?. It would be interesting to see if Canadians could purchase only the channels they wanted to watch how many channels would be selected. But big brother knows best what is good for me. lol

Posted March 15, 2009 03:06 PM

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