Pulse Magazine


MindGeek Asks for Exemption From Canadian Streaming Act

—MindGeek, the parent company of the popular adult tube website Pornhub and a portfolio of premium paysites, recently submitted comments to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requesting that pornography sites not be regulated under the controversial C-11 bill that was recently passed in the Liberal Party-controlled Canadian Parliament.

Bill C-11 (the Online Streaming Act) is a regulatory uniformity act requiring online streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube and TikTok to contribute and promote Canadian content over others. This is a requirement broadcasters already follow, per the statutes.

Canadian outlet The Globe and Mail quotes MindGeek’s filing to CRTC as stating, “For perhaps obvious reasons, explicit adult entertainment websites do not fall into the category of a Canadian cultural product warranting protection.” The filing from the porn giant additionally notes, “It should be plain to the Commission that explicit adult content does not and is not intended to advance these important societal interests.”

Under the Online Streaming Act, the Liberal coalition government will subject web platforms that provide content to regulations that require the promotion of Canadian culture and social identity. Criticism related to this law is that requiring content that promotes Canadian culture is quite challenging when there is no one clear “identitiy” of what is truly Canadian.

The Canadian recording industry, among other creative industries, has voiced concern about the Online Streaming Act. Music Canada, a trade group representing Canadian record labels, has asked the CRTC to have a “light touch” in defining and implementing C-11 regulations. If there isn’t a “light touch,” the group’s chief, Patrick Rogers, believes that pro-Canadian content rules could backfire in the business of content curation and recommendation algorithms. “We’re the music industry—we know what happens when we stop serving our fans. They go elsewhere,” said Rogers, speaking to The Globe and Mail on a different occasion.

MindGeek has a similar sentiment. However, in the filing, it argued that if CRTC intends to regulate porn the same way as a traditional broadcaster, then it should be allowed to access the same taxpayer funding for “cultural endeavors” that are granted to other companies subject to C-11 rules and regulations.

Video games, social media users and content creators are not subject to the Online Streaming Act. MindGeek is based in Montreal and is wholly owned by Ethical Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Ottawa. In all respects, MindGeek is a Canadian company. But, according to the company, the content available on its sites isn’t unique to Canada’s society.

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