Joanna Smith
Toronto Star

OTTAWA– Canadian actors made a case for new media funding at a hearing today before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The performers helped kick off the first day of hearings on regulating online content by urging the CRTC to make Internet service providers follow the same rules as television and radio broadcasters and protect Canadian content online.

“This is a battle for the future. What we want is a place for Canadian storytellers and our stories,” said Richard Hardacre national president of ACTRA, the union representing 21,000 English-speaking artists across all media platforms. “We want to share our talents with Canadians and with global audiences. We need to get it right now. Tomorrow is too late.”

The CRTC first looked into licensing new media in 1999 but with few households at the time having access to high-speed Internet it decided that licensing would not contribute to its development and that exempting it would not make it difficult for licensed broadcasters to follow the rules.

With 93 per cent of Canadian households having broadband access and anyone being able to watch videos and television shows, play games and listen to music online, the CRTC has decided to revisit the issue.

The ACTRA representatives highlighted that point in their presentations and said licensing new media will provide needed funding and protection of Canadian content.

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