Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All IP owners draw lines with partisan ads

While Conservatives are waxing dramatically over CBC's request that the Conservative Party cease and desist from using CBC footage in their latest round of partisan ads, we should remind ourselves that using copyrighted material without permission seems to be a serial problem with the Conservative Party. It's not just CBC who have, in recent years, made demands that the Conservatives stop using footage or clips that they have not sought permission to use.

Warner Music had to ask the Conservatives to cease and desist from unauthorized use of one of its properties back in early 2008:
"Warner/Chappell recently sent a letter to the Conservative Party of Canada confirming its unauthorized use of a song written by Warner/Chappell writers," wrote Amanda Collins in an e-mailed statement. "As a regular course of business, we contact parties that use our musical compositions without permission. We look forward to working with the party to resolve this matter quickly."
At issue there was unauthorized Conservative use of the theme song from the Apprentice (cheesy!) in a partisan video, attacking Liberals, of course. It was highly embarrassing since Industry Minister Jim Prentice unveiled it and he was supposedly embarking upon copyright reforms at the time.

Further, during the 2008 election, the use of television broadcast footage in attack ads without permission also came up, with CTV, CBC and TVO all making clear that they don't license their material to political parties during campaigns. See? Private and public both object to such usage. It's about the integrity of the broadcaster and not being seen to be allied with any particular political party. This is what the issue is, not the public status of the broadcaster, out of which the Conservatives claw some claim to use footage.

So, factor all that in with the anti-CBC ramblings we're seeing. It's not just public entities that the Conservatives have had problems with. It's just that the public entities are the ones they most enjoy attacking.