Lecture 9: Policy, Regulation, and Media Ownership in Canada

Discussion: Brief History of Web

Q - What happened to the Google on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019?

A - The world wide web has turned 30.

Q - Where the data centres are located?

A - Geneva, Switzerland

Q - Person who

A - Tim Burner Li

Q - The problem that he's been solving is that computer didn't talk (Mac could, PC not)

A - The idea that he came up with was the idea of having a set of protocols and browsers. The implication was mainly academic or military.

In 1996, the commercialization takes over the internet. Then it starts to explode and becomes hot in 1999. In 2000, the dot com crush makes most companies go bankrupt and quit the market. But companies that start off during recession tend to do quite well in the long run. So we ended up with MySpace, Google, eBay, Amazon.


  • History podcasts
  • Orality
  • Radio
  • Mobile radio
  • Ipod
  • Serial (journalism as entertainment)
  • Types of Podcasting
  • Interview
  • Reporting
  • Narrative/Personal

PART 1 - How did we get here?

"Mass communication takes place in a constructed environment, informed by communication technologies... but also by laws, polices, conventions, economic imperatives, guiding ideals, and public pressures."

- Gasher, M., Skinner, D., Lorimer, R. (2012).

Mass Communication in Canada (p 181)

Intellectual Property

Q - What is an Intellectual Property?

A - "Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works - designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”

(World Intellectual Property Organization, 2017)

Types of protection (Intellectual Property) -

1. Copyright

  • exclusive legal right to publish, reproduce, or perform your work
  • the creator is usually the owner
  • instantly granted and void 50 years after death
  • does not have to be registered
  • books, song, movie, software
  • you can't copyright:
  • ideas
  • facts
  • fables, folklore, or resources already in the culture
  • something created by a non-human
  • Selfie Argument: In order to be entitled to copyright registration, a work must be the product if human authorship.

2. Patents

  • inventions, business processes

3. Trademarks

  • logos, corporate symbols

4. Other: trade secrets, contractual restraints, industrial design, etc.


Legislation - acts, statutes or laws passed by Parliament or a provincial legislature. The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act is an example of this.

Regulation - Rules that address the details and practical application of the law. The structure of the CRTC and its powers is an example of this.

Policy - Rules, laws and practices that govern a particular activity. The laws that govern broadcasting in Canada is an example of this.


In 20th century, we look at 4 policies that discuss what the communication is for:

1. The Aird Commission (1929)

  • Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting
  • First public consultation regarding communications
  • Recommended:
  • broadcasting should a national public service (not profit-making industry) and its ownership and operating structure should be organized to recognize this principle.
  • a publicly owned broadcast network be introduced
  • Led in 1932 to Act creating the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC).

Commission would -

  • regulate, control and carry on broadcasting in Canada
  • originate and transmit programs
  • lease, purchase or construct stations
  • assume complete ownership of all Canadian broadcasting (if the means were provided)

2. The Massey Levesque Commission (1949-51)

  • Louis St Laurent’s government commissioned study of Canadian culture
  • Considered museums, libraries, archives, monuments, volunteer societies, scholarship, craft guilds....and mass media
  • Recommended that -
  • Television follow the model of radio (in terms of state jurisdiction)
  • Support of academic institutions
  • Importance of adequate financing
  • Private enterprise was considered “antagonistic to nation-building project in Canada”.

3. The Fowler Commission (1956 - 57)

  • Focus on television
  • Considered question - “Is there a need for the state regulation of broadcasting in Canada?”.


  • Limited bandwidth required licensing
  • “Power” of TV needed government oversight
  • Need to balance commercial interests
  • Otherwise US would make Canadian broadcast obsolete

4. The Applebaum Hebet Committee (1981-82)

  • Tasked with findings a means to reduce cultural investment by state
  • Differed from previous commissions:
  • no anti-commercial and anti-American rhetoric
  • celebrated regionalism
  • no discussion of national identity
  • Maintained importance of state governance

PART 2 - Where are we?


Convergence - concentration of media ownership.

Companies grow by merging and acquiring other media companies until a small number of companies own a majority of media products.

Types of Convergence:

  1. Horizontal Integration - merger of two or more companies that occupy similar levels in terms of production.
  • Might be in the same or different industry
  • eg: Instagram and Google

2. Vertical Integration - "refers to the ownership or control by one entity of both programming services, such as conventional television stations, or pay and specialty services, as well as distribution services, such as cable systems or direct-to-home (DTH) satellite services.

  • Also includes ownership or control by one entity of both programming undertakings and production companies”

(CRTC, 2011, September21).

Benefits and Disadvantages of Convergence

Communications Policies

Let's look at each sector separately -


Key ideas -

  • Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Types of IP
  • Copyright
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Other
  • 4 policies that discuss what the communication is for
  • The Aird Commission (1929)
  • The Massey Levesque Commission (1949-51)
  • The Fowler Commission (1956 - 57)
  • The Applebaum Hebet Committee (1981-82)
  • Convergence
  • Types of Convergence
  • Horizontal Integration
  • Vertical Integration
  • Benefits and Disadvantages of Convergence
  • Communications Policies in sector by sector -
  • Broadcasting
  • Music
  • Cinema
  • Publishing
  • New Media
  • Net Neutrality

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