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Conservatives OK to have used CBC footage in election attack ads, court rules


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TORONTO — The Conservative party was within its rights to use CBC news footage for election attack ads that depicted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a poor light, Federal Court ruled on Thursday.

In his decision, Judge Michael Phelan found the party’s use of the material on television and in four tweets in the run-up to the 2019 vote amounted to “fair dealing.”

As such, Phelan found, use of the material did not infringe CBC’s copyright as the broadcaster had claimed.

“The ultimate purpose was to mount a political campaign to secure votes to form a government,” Phelan wrote. “The purpose was one of engaging in the democratic process. The evidence is that the use of the CBC works was for this legitimate political purpose.”

At issue were a Conservative ad and tweets that used clips from CBC news programming and from the leadership debates. The ad, for example, showed Trudeau asking the viewer to “look at what we’ve done” along with news clips that invited unfavourable conclusions about his performance.

The CBC insisted such use of its material could compromise its journalistic integrity and impartiality. Phelan showed some sympathy for the complaint.

“The CBC, as a state owned enterprise, is being reasonable in its concern to neither be, nor appear to be, politically partisan,” Phelan said. “There is no evidence to support the accusation that CBC is acting irrationally in protecting its rights.”

Although he found the Conservatives had used the CBC material in a way that could infringe copyright, Phelan also noted the Copyright Act has an exemption for an “allowable purpose” that includes criticism or satire. However, use under the exemption must be fair, which Phelan concluded it was given the context of political debate.

“The nature of the work, being news or news-like content, favours a fairness conclusion,” he said.

The broadcaster had also failed to show it suffered any actual harm, the judge said. Hypotheticals, he said, didn’t cut it.

“There may be situations in the future where the manner of use and distribution of CBC material may adversely affect the CBC; however, that is not the case here,” Phelan wrote. “Fear and speculation cannot ground a finding of unfairness.”

The public broadcaster had initially wanted an injunction barring the Conservatives from ever using its news material but ultimately asked only for the court to find its rights had been breached. The Conservatives want the case dismissed.

Because the party pulled the ad when CBC complained, Phelan found the entire dispute moot. He nevertheless decided to rule, saying the situation was likely to arise again and that it was best to sort it out now outside of the pressure cooker of an election campaign.

The case was one of the first times a Canadian court had been asked to adjudicate a copyright dispute between a news organization and a major political organization.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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Canadian Kylie Masse captures silver in 100-metre backstroke

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TOKYO — Canadian Kylie Masse has captured silver in the women’s 100-metre backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics. 

The two-time world champion in the event finished in 57.72 seconds, behind Australia’s Kaylee McKeown (57.47), who set a new Olympic record. American Regan Smith (58.05) took bronze. 

Masse, a 25-year-old from LaSalle, Ont., was in the lead at the 50-metre turn before McKeown came on strong in the end. 

The women’s swim team has generated three medals in the first three days of racing starting with a silver in the freestyle relay and followed by Maggie Mac Neil’s victory in 100-metre butterfly.

Masse (pronounced Moss) tied for Olympic bronze with China’s Fu Yuanhui in Rio in 2016. 

The only other women in the world to win multiple career medals in 100 backstroke are American Natalie Coughlin, Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe. 

Canada’s Mark Tewksbury won men’s 100 backstroke gold in 1992. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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Canada’s Jessica Klimkait wins bronze in under-57 kg judo event

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TOKYO — Canada’s Jessica Klimkait has won bronze in the women’s under-57 kilogram category at the Tokyo Olympics.

The reigning world champion from Whitby, Ont., defeated Kaja Kajzer of Slovenia by waza-ari in a bronze-medal match.

Klimkait missed a chance to add a gold medal to her world championship title when she lost to Sarah Leonie Cysique of France in the semifinals.

Klimkait was defeated by ippon when she was assessed a shido in the golden score period for a false attack. It was Klimkait’s third penalty of the bout, giving Cysique a berth on the gold-medal match.

Klimkait was in fine form before her semifinal loss. She defeated Poland’s Julia Kowalczyk in their quarterfinal bout at the Nippon Budokan.

The victory, her second straight via ippon, came after she beat Bulgaria’s Ivelina Ilieva in the round of 16 earlier in the day

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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