Seen on Parliament Hill – despite Michael Ignatieff’s best wishes

This fellow was just off of Parliament Hill today showing passers-by a portable video playing the video clip of Michael Ignatieff saying “You have to decide what kind of America you want. Right? You have to decide. It’s your country [the US] just as much as it is mine.” The clip can be seen in the Conservative Party’s “definition” ads on the Leader of the Opposition.

Aparently, the man dressed as Uncle Sam was protesting Michael Ignatieff’s attempts to goad C-SPAN into ordering a cease-and-decist against the Conservatives for using video from their network.

Glen MacGregor of the Ottawa Citizen reports from an interview with C-SPAN’s Bruce Collins,

“He wanted to know if we were aware if our video was being used in this way,” Collins said. “If our rights were being violated, he wanted us to enforce them.”

Collins goes on to say,

“There’s nothing legal to do with it, Collins said. “Given the way video is used throughout the world, with YouTube, it would be fruitless.”

Collins says he watched the ad and believes it falls within the fair-use provisions in copyright law because of the short length and subject matter.

“It’s the highest form of speech — political speech,” he said, adding there would be no economic loss to C-SPAN resulting from the ad.

One might have thought that Michael Ignatieff would have read the first amendment to the US Constitution protecting speech during the decades he was abroad. For someone who claims ownership of the United States as Ignatieff does, he should believe in political free speech, even if such rights are generally not afforded Canadians when it comes to using CBC and CPAC footage.

Liberals in violation of US Copyright Act

The famous YouTube video with a close up shot of a the shipping label on the boxes “returned” to the PMO by Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings was taken down from the popular video hosting website after the user “liberalvideo” made a copyright claim. YouTube user “liberalvideo” is of course the Liberal OLO and their muscling of content critical to their party sets a chilling precedent in this country.

Of course, the video itself was based upon footage gathered by the Liberal Party from their original video. Since the claimant to the copyright was “liberalvideo”, we can assume that “liberalvideo” is in fact the Liberal OLO.

Anyway. The derivative video produced (with the shipping label) constitutes fair use of the material and may even be classified as a parody of the original. Point is, there is no copyright violation.

This may spell trouble for the Liberal Party as they are in violation of the US Copyright Act. Section 512(f) states:

512. Limitations on liability relating to material online

(f) Misrepresentations. – Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section -

(1) that material or activity is infringing, or

(2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,

shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

Liberals have expressed to me that the removal of the video and copyright claim was shortsighted and “dumb”.