Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: September 22, 2022

Postmedia to stop print editions on nine dailies

Nine urban daily newspapers across Canada will stop printing on Mondays beginning Oct. 17, a result of what the industry calls a losing war with tech giants like Google and Facebook over ad revenues.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Postmedia Network Inc., owned by Postmedia Network Canada Corp., said the affected publications are the Vancouver Sun, The Province, Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun and Montreal Gazette. – Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

Paramount’s Pluto TV sets launch date for Canada

Paramount Global will launch Pluto TV, the studio’s free ad-supported streaming TV service, in Canada on Dec. 1.

The long-awaiting debut for Pluto TV north of the border will offer around 100 TV channels and over 20,000 hours of content. The latest international launch for the FAST channel comes as Canadian TV viewers grapple with rising subscription costs and more subscription video offerings than ever to compete against Netflix and other streaming giants.  – Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter

Canada extending term of copyright protection from 50-to-70 years

For the less-than-one percent of copyrighted works which remain valuable 50 years after the author's death, the movie studios, recording studios, publishing houses, and other people or entities that own them will have their monopoly for another 20 years, but for the majority of copyright owners, “the extension is irrelevant.”

But the extension will also affect libraries, museums, archives, and educational institutions… – Aidan Macnab, Canadian Lawyer magazine

C-11 and the news hyperlink

So concerned was the Supreme Court of Canada with the importance of links that in considering potential liability for defamation for a link, it warned “given the core significance of the role of hyperlinking to the Internet, we risk impairing its whole functioning.” Bill C-18 does exactly that. If the government thinks that legislation is needed to mandate payment for use of news articles, it should amend its bill to reflect actual use as most would commonly understand it. As it stands now, it seeks payment under a broad “facilitating access to news” standard, including through linking. The bill should be amended by limiting making available to actual reproduction. Without that amendment, it establishes sets a dangerous precedent that could result in many other groups claiming rights to compensation for linking to their content and create a serious risk to sharing information online. – Michael Geist blog

Juno-nominated Tesher sees C-11 as a threat to his global success

Some of the most exciting voices I’ve discovered in the last couple of years, Canadian artists like Jessia and Johnny Orlando, have gained global followings and signed record deals, fuelled by their ability to reach a massive audience through TikTok.

Bill C-11 threatens that low-barrier path — one based on talent and audience preference, rather than government-established quotas — by subjecting platforms like TikTok and the creators using it to outdated broadcasting and Canadian content rules.

I’m building a career and exporting Canadian content globally despite those rules, not because of them. This path is what we should all want for Canadian artists. We want them to have the freedom to showcase globally our diverse, authentic, Canadian culture.

C-11 would limit that reach by requiring creators to prioritize government criteria for domestic distribution over making content optimized for global audiences. – Hitesh Sharma (Tesher), MSN

Getty Images is barring illustrations created by AI

Getty Images has banned the upload and sale of illustrations generated using AI art tools like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. It’s the latest and largest user-generated content platform to introduce such a ban, following similar decisions by sites including Newgrounds, PurplePort, and FurAffinity.

Getty Images CEO Craig Peters told The Verge that the ban was prompted by concerns about the legality of AI-generated content and a desire to protect the site’s customers. – James Vincent, The Verge

The legal quandry about AI created inventions

Can a machine be an inventor? After the courts said no, a computer scientist is once more trying to have an artificial intelligence considered an inventor in the eyes of the law. – Suzi Morales, Observer

Mark Zuckerberg’s US$71B wealth wipeout puts focus on Meta’s woes

Even in a rough year for just about every US tech titan, the wealth erased from the chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc. stands out. His fortune has been cut in half and then some, dropping by US$71 billion so far this year, the most among the ultra-rich tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. At $55.9 billion, his net worth ranks 20th among global billionaires, his lowest spot since 2014 and behind three Waltons and two members of the Koch family. – Nur Dayana, Bloomberg

Starlink’s success is throttling its speed

Elon Musk’s satellite internet service has hit a bump in the road after building up momentum for the first half of the year.

Starlink, the ISP arm of SpaceX, saw its speeds worldwide slow down as the service gains in popularity, according to internet speed measurement company Ookla’s latest quarterly report. (Note: Ookla and Mashable are both owned by the same parent company, Ziff Davis.) In every country Ookla tracks (such as Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and New Zealand), Starlink’s median download speeds have dropped, year-over-year, from the second quarter of 2021 until now. – Alex Perry, Mashable

Spotify launches 300K strong audiobooks library in US

Navigating to the appropriate page on Spotify’s website brings up a purchase option and the book’s price – an audio edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will set one back a whopping $32.90 plus tax. However, users are prompted to complete transactions outside the app, and the audiobook at hand will then become accessible on the platform.

($32.90 appears to be the standard cost for shorter Harry Potter audiobooks on Spotify, excepting longer installments such as The Deathly Hallows, which one can buy for a cool $48.90. The latter price is higher than those on Barnes & Noble, Audible, Google Play, and Kobo. Other Spotify audiobooks, like Elton John’s autobiography, are comparatively affordable but carry substantial price tags nonetheless.) –Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

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