Proposed Bill Mandating 'Canadian Content' on Streaming Platforms Would Also Apply to Porn

Proposed Bill Mandating 'Canadian Content' on Streaming Platforms Would Also Apply to Porn

OTTAWA — A new amendment to the Canadian Broadcasting Act demanding a set percentage of “Canadian content” on platforms available nationwide will "almost certainly" apply to adult content, according to regulatory experts.

The amendment, Bill C-11, fails to clarify exactly how the “Canadianness” of a porn scene or piece of OnlyFans content should be determined.

Proposed by the ruling Liberal Party, C-11 aims to subject much of the internet to direct oversight by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the National Post reported today.

The bill has passed the House of Commons with the support of the NDP and Bloc Québécois parties.

“Absent any major revisions by the Senate,” the report noted, “the likes of Netflix, YouTube and even Instagram will soon be forced to subject their content to Canada’s famously onerous strictures on Canadian content. But less discussed is how Bill C-11 will also apply to the internet’s vast wilderness of streaming pornography.”

According to the bill, all programs that are also broadcast via “online undertaking” — mainly through YouTube, Netflix or Disney+ but explicitly including all streamable content — will have to be monitored to assess their Canadian provenance.

Peter Menzies, a former CRTC vice chair who now opposes the bill — has asserted that “online porn will almost certainly fall within the bill’s purview,” the National Post reported.

“The final decision regarding who’s in and who’s out is to be made in a future CRTC hearing, but it’s difficult to imagine Commissioners giving Pornhub and its many hours of user-generated content an exemption,” Menzies wrote in a column.

Make the Algorithm Canadian Again

The CRTC has previously regulated erotic channels broadcast in Canada, including XXX Action Clips and the gay-oriented Maleflixxx, to “ensure that at least 35% of their adult content was Canadian, or the equivalent of 8.5 hours of Canadian porn per day.”

The bill’s provision to “ensure the discoverability of Canadian programming” would apparently compel streamers, including YouTube and Pornhub, to tweak their algorithms “by federal mandate to disproportionately pair users with content that regulators have deemed to be sufficiently Canadian. Non-Canadian content, meanwhile, would need to be artificially hidden.”

In order to assess the Canadian provenance of the content, streamers would have to consider the baroque CRTC “points system.”

Under the mandatory system, the National Post explained, “content creators must file detailed budgets with the CRTC to prove minimum quotas of Canadian actors, Canadian crew and even the quantity of production costs that were verifiably spent in Canada.”

Although this may be good news for content involving the likes of north-of-the-border talent like Peter North, Jessy Jones, Samantha Mack, Eden Ivy and director Ricky Greenwood, or perhaps content funded by Gamma, the report indicates that “an avalanche of red tape” could also be in store for “Canada’s cottage industry of camgirls, adult actors and independent porn producers.”

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