Kein Führer Titel Blais demanded private customer information by Monday afternoon at 5pm Eastern. It is now Friday morning as I write this and Netflix has yet to give up information it considers confidential. The CRTC believes that it regulates the Internet. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear there would be no taxing the Internet. So where does this leave the CRTC? Nowhere.
This past week has revealed the CRTC to be stark naked. If they are wearing an Emperor's clothes, then it's obvious that the clothes are a bribe from Big Telecom. So the CRTC is still naked. Kein Führer Titel Blais thought he could extend the Broadcasting Act to the Internet. Now it's time to take up the offense while they are on the defensive. Instead of trying to prevent their Internet takeover, let's push back against the Broadcasting Act itself. Let's push back against the CRTC as a relevant institution. Unfortunately it's an uphill battle to return the broadcast television and radio spectrum to a free market, but we can save the Internet from bureaucracy.
It is crucial that we do so.
CRTC apologists may justify Internet intervention to protect Canadian culture. But Netflix produces Canadian-content (Can-Con). They just released a new season of Trailer Park Boys. Compare the Boys to the statist crap coming out of the CBC. The “public broadcaster” once produced Kenny vs. Spenny, but trashed it after one season. Fortunately a private broadcaster (or as private as a broadcaster can be) picked it up and the show took off. Kenny vs. Spenny only got better as time went on. The idea that Can-Con needs to be mandated is first and foremost silly. Culture knows no borders. The creators of Kenny vs Spenny have collaborated with American writers. Treasonous? No, promotion of a “national culture” is eerily fascist. Promotion through taxation and regulation is even more insulting.
Can-Con is automatic when creative content is created by Canadians. Yes, it's that simple. Take Dave Foley: Canadian actor in the States. He's currently doing stand-up. I'd consider that Canadian content. So why isn't he doing it up here? Other than his preference to live in a warmer climate, the Ontario bureaucracy surrounding child-custody and spousal support laws have made him a criminal. He owes his ex-wife an insane amount of money. No reasonable person could afford the monthly payments, and how those payments were calculated is even more insane. You can listen to his story here. Bureaucracy made Dave Foley -- a great Canadian comedian and content creator -- a criminal in his own country.
Bureaucracy has inner contradictions; it has no way of calculating profit and loss. Bureaucratic planners don't know if they're using resources in the most cost-effective way since customers don't patronize their organizations voluntarily. Bureaucracies get funded from above, through taxation. This destroys the mechanism that creates entrepreneurs and produces wealth. There is no wealth-creation in the bureaucratic system. There is only regulation and wealth-destruction. The CRTC is the antithesis of a free society. They decide where freedom of speech will be, how much of it will be permitted – and technically – what freedom of speech actually means. The CRTC umbrellas over the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a regulatory body that once attempted to ban a Dire Straits song.
What if the CRTC takes Netflix to court? The CRTC could convince the attorney general to charge Netflix with violating the Broadcasting Act. Then it becomes a battle over regulation of the Internet. And we make this go viral. I don't care what the suits in Ottawa say or what the Canadian Lawyers Association may come up with – the Broadcasting Act does not extend to the Internet. If Netflix is a broadcaster, then so is Youtube. So if PFT. Am I a broadcaster because of the YouTube videos I made with my friends in high school? Someone, somewhere is going to have to arbitrarily decide that Netflix is a broadcaster, but the average YouTuber is not.
Best to keep the Broadcasting Act out of the Internet. Even if the lawyers say it's okay, it's not. They probably don't understand economics. But they are also bureaucratic in interpreting the law since it's not really a law. It's considered “Freeman-on-the-land” doctrine to talk of common laws vs regulatory statutes. And that kind of talk, with that label, gets you branded a domestic terrorist by the police. But the truth of the matter is Canada is a constitutional monarchy, founded on the classical liberal ideas of liberty, freedom of expression and a common-law court system. We are still under common law jurisdiction – it's just that our understanding of law, Western legal systems, and the tyrannical tendencies of bureaucracy have been warped over the last 100 years.
Blame the public schools.
Whatever the reason, the Canadian political identity of “peace, order and good government” comes under fire with administrative regulations that are enforced by the police. That is where societies cross the line: police are supposed to protect and serve citizens, not the regulatory requirements of bureaucracy. It's clear that police like to protect and serve the status quo. This will be even clearer if they enforce the CRTC's regulation of the Internet.