On Thursday, the Conservative Party received notice from lawyers representing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) informing us they would be suing over the use of news clips in a Conservative Party social media video.
The Conservative Party has grave concern that this decision was made on the eve of an election that CBC is to be covering fairly and objectively. The Conservative Party considers this a complete distraction in the final days of a tightly contested election, and we will dispute this lawsuit fully.
The video in question was removed from our platforms well before CBC lawyers made the decision to file their lawsuit.
The 17 seconds of CBC clips in the video included Andrew Coyne highlighting how Justin Trudeau broke the law, Justin Trudeau telling a Canadian war veteran that he is “asking for more than we can give right now”, and one CBC reporter questioning why the Liberals provided Loblaws with $12 million in tax dollars to install new refrigerators.
CBC is a taxpayer-funded entity, tasked with covering this election fairly and objectively. Canadians pay the funding CBC receives. Canadians pay the salaries for those employed at CBC. Simply, Canadians own CBC.
When you are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars, taxpayers should be able to use the footage.
The Copyright Act provides for fair dealing.
Elections Canada provided further clarification on a September 11th posting to their website, namely:
Question 35. Can a political ad contain a “news clip” without the approval of the broadcaster?
Answer: Prior to the election period, broadcasters can decline to run a political ad on any grounds they choose, provided they treat all parties on an equitable basis. However, during the election period, they are not entitled to decline an ad unless the broadcast would be in contravention of the law. If a news clip is relatively short and is not a substantial part of the audiovisual work from which it was taken, the broadcast of the news clip in a political ad would not infringe the copyright of the owner of the audiovisual work and would not require the permission of that owner to be broadcast.
Instead, CBC is using taxpayer dollars to sue a major political party ten days before a national election in this country.