Copyright conflicts & Canada’s media

by Hugh

You know one of the problems about this whole copyright debate is the massive conflict of interest in reporting it in our media companies, which also happen to be our ISPs. Canada’s top 6 ISPs, in order of customer base, are: Bell Sympatico, Shaw, Telus, Rogers, Vidéotron, Cogeco. Looking at what these companies do other than provide your Internet:

  • Sympatico is owned by BCE, which also owns a big stake in CTV Globe Media, representing: Canada’s biggest private TV network (CTV), Canada’s biggest national newspaper (Globe and Mail), and 35 radio stations across the country.
  • Shaw – mostly a tech company.
  • Telus – mostly a tech company.
  • Rogers owns magazines (including Maclean’s and Canadian Business), TV stations including CityTV and RogersTV.
  • Videotron is owned by Quebecor, which owns scores of newspapers across the country (including Journal de Montreal and the Toronto Sun) numerous magazines in Quebec, the TVA television network, Archambault record stores, Videotron video rental stores, and a number of book publishers.
  • Cogeco – mostly a tech company.

So between them, UPDATE: the owners of Bell Sympatico, Rogers and Videotron, probably own three quarters of Canada’s non-CBC news media; the balance owned by CanwestGlobal (which owns Global Television, the National Post, and, of course, Dose Magazine).

All in all not very healthy. The Canadian mania for, and regulatory approval of, consolidation not just in the media business, but in merging media and technology, means that our ISPs are our news providers. So any discussion of Net Neutrality and Copyright will be filtered through the lens of Big Content Providers.

Which, I guess, just means that we have to keep getting the word out.