CRTC Requests that CBSC Reconsider “Money for Nothing” Decision

Further to our earlier post on the matter (CBSC Decision on Derogatory Terminology), in what appears to be an unprecedented step, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) has sent a letter to the CBSC (Canadian Broadcast Standards Council), asking the CBSC to reconsider its decision that the use of the word “f****t” in the Dire Straits’ song “Money for Nothing” contravenes the CAB’s (Canadian Association of Broadcasters) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

The text of the CRTC’s January 21, 2011 letter to the CBSC can be found here.  It states, in part:

In light of the national scope of this matter, the strong public reaction to the Atlantic Panel’s decision, and the considerable experience of the CBSC in reviewing such matters, the Commission hereby is taking the following two steps:

  1. We are sending you all the correspondence we have received in respect of this matter since your decision was published.
  2. The Commission is of the view that the CBSC should appoint a panel with a national composition to reconsider the matter and review the new correspondence regarding this song.

Such reconsideration should, after seeking submissions from the public by means of a public request for comments via your website, take into consideration all relevant factors, including:

  • the context of the particular wording in the song’s theme and intended message,
  • the age and origin of the song and the date of its performance,
  • the prominence of the contested word in the song and the use of that word over time, and
  • the length of time and frequency that it has been playing on the airwaves.

The letter is particularly notable because the CRTC has no actual authority over the CBSC – the CBSC is a private independent body which does not report to the CRTC.

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Bob Tarantino

About Bob Tarantino

Bob Tarantino is Counsel at Dentons Canada LLP and focuses his practice on the interface between the entertainment industries and intellectual property law, with an emphasis on film and television production, financing, licensing, distribution, and IP acquisition and protection. His clients range from artists and independent producers to Canadian distributors and foreign studios and financiers at every stage of the creative process, from development to delivery and exploitation.

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