Tories to Amend Copyright Act to Legalize Using News Videos

A report has alleged that the Conservative party is taking steps to amend the Canadian law in order to legalize political ads to include news content without repercussion. According to a document unveiled by media sources, the party is planning to amend the Copyright Act to allow political parties, politicians and candidates to use materials published by news organizations, such as an interview clip, without having to ask permission or pay for licensing.

The document mentions that “the exemption will provide greater certainty for political actors who wish to use ‘news’ content in their political advertisement without being bound by rights holder authorization.” Although the legislation implies that the Conservatives are aware that news organizations hold ownership of their own content, their own actions don’t really demonstrate it. There have been several attack ads by his party against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau that blatantly use videos taken from broadcasters and journalists without permission.

One such ad, titled “he’s in way over his head,” was released in April 2013 carrying clips owned by The Huffington Post Canada of Trudeau at a charity event. Despite several complaints from Huffington Post Canada, the Tories refused to remove the ad and instead used that footage in other ads later too. Another ad also uses a clip of a CBC interview with Trudeau. Head of public affairs for CBC English Services, Chuck Thompson, mentioned that “as I understand it, the Conservative Party used clips from this interview without our consent.”

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