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Canadians opposing 'split-run' U.S. magazines

TORONTO -- United States magazine publishers seeking to distribute their titles as 'split-run' editions in Canada will have a tough time getting approval for such projects under guidelines announced by Deputy Prime Minister Jean Charest.

Charest told Canadian publishers Monday at a Toronto news conference that government approval of any split-run request would be 'very unlikely.'

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Critics say split-run editions are low-cost copies of existing U.S. magazines that have already covered production costs in their own market, and add little local content but gain local advertising.

'Canada's cultural industries play a special role in the life of the country,' Charest said.

In March, Time Warner Inc.'s Sports Illustrated released a Canadian version of their magazine, Sports Illustrated Canada. Many Canadian magazine publishers were upset because the first edition of the magazine took an estimated $200,000 in advertising from the Canadian market.

Two more editions of Sports Illustrated Canada have been issued.

Sports Illustrated will not be affected by the regulations because the Canadian version is printed in Ontario. Jeffrey Shearer, publisher of Saturday Night magazine, applauded the government's plan but said all editions of split-run magazines should be stopped.

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'Make no mistake, we want to see the end of a split-run edition of Sports Illustrated,' Shearer said.

Many Canadian magazine publishers told the government they would have to close down in the face of additional competition for advertising from American magazine publishers.

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