Friday, October 10, 2014

Copyright And Political Ads: Insight Into a Certain "Consortium"

The news networks themselves are emerging as a major element in the unfolding story of copyright, campaigns and political ads. It seems that this is getting to be less about copyright and more about a certain "consortium".

Regarding the possible legislation concerning the copyright aspects of political ads, I’ve now seen documents that indicate that there was a “consortium” of the major broadcasters formed this spring at the initiative of the CBC to deal with this issue. They apparently deliberately chose to leave Quebecor (Sun Media) out of the discussions. They agreed not to air political ads that include content from each other or even third party broadcasters and that this consortium was necessary because copyright law no longer worked to justify their position.

One of the documents says:

“The goal is to keep news content from being used without permission. In past we fought this stuff using legal threats, but shifts to laws w.r.t. copyright and fair dealing have made this a less effective route. This ‘consortium’ we think would limit the activity.” 
(emphasis added)

Here’s the batch of documents, which a third party has obtained via ATIP.  Readers may wish to focus on pages 58, 64, 83, 86, 89, 110, 112-113. 116-117, 122, and 137 for starters.

All this could be of considerable potential interest to, at the very least, the CRTC, Elections Canada, and the Competition Bureau.

Spoiler alert: the names Peter Mansbridge and Jennifer McGuire figure very prominently in these 137 pages.

No doubt, more to come.


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