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Media Beat: Aug. 09, 2021

By David Farrell

Half of Canadians believe social media has hurt open debate: Poll

The data also show that many Canadians are concerned about the future of free speech, with 40 per cent saying they suspect it will be harder to speak freely on controversial topics. The new Postmedia-Leger poll surveying Canadians on the state of free speech as the country gears up for an expected federal election found a large majority think that social media companies should be forced to monitor and remove content they consider hateful. – Christopher Nardi, National Post


Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming sold to Penn National in $2B deal

The deal announced Thursday will bring together Score Media's popular theScore mobile sports news app, as well as its betting services in four U.S. states, with Penn National's dozens of gaming and racing properties across 20 states.

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The acquisition of Score Media and Gaming adds to Penn National's holdings in sports media after it bought a 36 per cent stake in Barstool Sports Inc. in 2020. – The Canadian Press

News publishers’ united front against Big Tech has collapsed

What the new deals with Facebook and Google are about is the use of actual newspaper content, even whole articles, in packages the publishers put together themselves, on dedicated services hosted by the platforms. – Andrew Coyne, TheGlobe and Mail

The pop star versus the playlist

Streaming services’ playlists make it easier for listeners to find music worth playing. But experts say they’re also breaking fans’ relationships with artists.

“Streaming is a great way to make an artist faceless,” says Lucas Keller, the CEO of the entertainment management company Milk & Honey, which manages some of the biggest producers and songwriters working today. His roster has written for artists including BTS, Ariana Grande, and Gwen Stefani — at one point in 2019, 10 of the songs on top 40 were written or produced by Milk & Honey talent.

“The song,” Keller says, “becomes bigger than the artist.”  – Chris Harding, Vox

Tokyo Olympics: By the numbers

News reports suggest that the final cost of hosting the Olympics could balloon up to $28 billion.

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According to data from a study by the University of Oxford titled ‘Regression to the Tail: Why the Olympics Blow Up’, most of the earlier editions of the Olympics, for which data is available, have had cost overruns. The highest was 720 per cent for Montreal 1976 and Rio 2016’s overrun was 352 per cent.

The revenue of the Games is expected to total around $6B, including $2.9B from broadcasters. – Annapurani. V & Chennai, Business Line

Canada leaves Tokyo with an 11th place finish

Canadian Music Blog has the medal count for Canada and its international competitors, breaks down who won what, and tracks our standing since our best performance at the 1904 Games in St. Louis.

China’s menacing influence in tech surveillance

A common narrative about the internet in China is that the government built the “Great Firewall” in order to suppress its democratizing potential. Many Western liberals thought free trade would nudge China toward democracy, and that the access to information provided by an open internet would have similar influence. So when China walled off much of its internet from the outside world, it was reasonable to think the government was doing so to squelch dissent and stem the tide of democracy.

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But … there was another purpose: the Chinese firewall was also a tool of protectionist industrial policy intended to insulate Chinese tech companies from global competitors, so they could scale first in the Chinese market. In other words, while the desire to control the political activity of their citizens may have been a big part of the Chinese firewall, it also served as a form of industrial protection, allowing Chinese tech companies to become the economic powerhouses they are today. – Taylor Owen, National Post

Paging Mr. Giuliani...

According to a report in Yahoo News, a Russian woman, Ksenia Ovchinnikova of Omsk, has filed a lawsuit against McDonald's.

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Ms. Ovchinnikova, a devout Christian, claims that an ad for McDonald's cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets was so irresistible, it caused her to break the fast she was on for Lent, in which she was abstaining from all meat and animal products.

The plaintiff claims that McDonald's broke consumer protection laws and was insulting her religious feelings. "I could not help myself. I visited McDonald's and bought a cheeseburger," she said.

Ms. Ovchinnikova is suing McDonald's for $14. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

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Burton Cummings
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Burton Cummings

Legal News

The Guess Who's Burton Cummings Will Give Up His Royalties to Stop Alleged 'Cover Band'

The Canadian musician has cancelled performing license agreements for all of his songs, which will prevent the act currently performing under The Guess Who name from playing hits like "American Woman" and "These Eyes."

Canadian musician Burton Cummings is giving up his royalties to protect his legacy.

The "American Woman" singer and co-founder of classic Winnipeg band The Guess Who has cancelled his performance license agreements, Rolling Stone reports, in an effort to prevent the current iteration of The Guess Who from performing.

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