Canadian presence requirements vs. Canadian content requirements
During today's CRTC new media hearing, Chair Konrad von Finckenstein raised the prospect of identifying Canadian content by virtue of a dot-ca domain name. This possibility has been discussed several times during these hearings, with the Commission apparently hoping that dot-ca domain name registrations can serve as a proxy for identifying Canadian content (and then prioritizing that content).
This argument represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the dot-ca domain. Registration of a dot-ca requires registrants to meet Canadian presence requirements, which can include nothing more than a Canadian trademark. In other words, every major U.S. content provider with a Canadian trademark can register a dot-ca domain even though none of the content on their site need be Canadian. Moreover, lots of Canadian content resides on dot-com domains. CIRA has often marketed the dot-ca as the domain of choice for Canadians, but it is a very poor metric for identifying Canadian content.
Michael Geist is a law professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa.