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CBC Lawsuit vs. Conservative Party

The CBC Lawsuit, Fair Dealing and Future Reform: The Unexpected Arrival of Copyright in Election 2019

As the 2019 federal election winds toward voting day next week, copyright has unexpectedly arrived on the scene. Cultural groups have lamented for weeks that none of the national political parties have discussed copyright, placed it in their platforms, or otherwise committed to reforms. The likely reason – neatly articulated by OpenMedia’s Laura Tribe in this week’s Lawbytes podcast – is that there are no sharp divisions between the parties on copyright that might provide an electoral advantage. Instead, the government conducted an extensive copyright review which led to the Industry Committee’s June 2019 report. That committee, which heard from hundreds of witnesses representing all perspectives, generated a report that received all-party support and provides a roadmap for future reforms (the notable exception being on crown copyright).

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October 17, 2019 3 comments News
CBC's Rosemary Barton by Ian Capstick https://flic.kr/p/9tt7Ju (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What Was the CBC Thinking?: A Closer Look at the Video Clips in its Copyright Lawsuit Against the Conservative Party

The CBC decision to sue the Conservative Party for copyright infringement over seven clips that were either used in a campaign ad or posted to Twitter has unsurprisingly garnered considerable attention. While the CBC claims that its lawsuit was designed to defend perceptions of independence of its journalists and journalism, the opposite has predictably occurred with many believing that the lawsuit itself (filed eleven days before the election after the content was removed) demonstrates bias against the Conservative party. Not only does the lawsuit fuel perceptions of bias, but it causes enormous damage to CBC journalists – Rosemary Barton and John Paul Tasker – who are both named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The CBC now says it will file an application to remove them from the suit, but it is hard to understand how anyone at the public broadcaster thought it was a good idea to have one of its lead news anchors and a parliamentary reporter sue a political party.

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October 12, 2019 17 comments News
CBC News advertising board, CBC Broadcast Centre, Toronto, Southern Ontario, Canada by Pranav Bhatt (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9HBz23

CBC Sues the Conservative Party of Canada for Copyright Infringement Citing Campaign Video, Posting Debate Excerpts on Twitter

The CBC has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Conservative Party over the use of clips on its Not As Advertised website and the use of debate clips on its Twitter feed. The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court, claims that a campaign video titled “Look at What We’ve Done” contained multiple excerpts from CBC programming in violation of copyright law. Moreover, the CBC also cites tweets that included short video clips of between 21 seconds and 42 seconds from the English-language leaders’ debate. The CBC argues that posting those clips on Twitter also constitutes copyright infringement.

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October 11, 2019 39 comments News
Conservative Party Mailer

Why Political Parties + Mass Data Collection + Religious Targeting + No Privacy Laws = Trouble

Earlier this week, I opened my mailbox to find the above pictured campaign flyer from the Conservative Party. The flyer asks “Who Is the Real Friend of Israel and the Jewish Community in Canada” on the outside and tries to make the case for the Conservatives on the inside. The flyer was personally addressed to my family and was apparently sent to many Jewish households (or presumed Jewish households). As I noted in a tweet yesterday, I don’t know how my family made it into the Conservative party list. The party might have visited the house, saw a mezzuzah on the door, and made the connection. Maybe it bought a list with the name from a community organization or publication. Or perhaps it just guessed based on geographic areas or names.

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October 11, 2019 5 comments News
ReadMySign by A McLin (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6iEz7o

Why Do Canada’s Political Parties Have a Hard Time Saying No to New Internet and Wireless Taxes?

The question should be an easy, slam-dunk: will you implement new Internet or wireless taxes to support the creation of Canadian content? Given that Canada has some of the highest Internet and wireless costs in the world, rejecting new fees or taxes that would further increase those costs should not require any hedging or attempts to change the subject. In fact, while the Canadian Heritage committee and the CRTC have proposed new wireless fees and taxes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly rejected the approach. For example, minutes after the Heritage report was released, he told the press:

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October 3, 2019 2 comments News