Liberal ad highlighting pot-banging Pauline Marois taken down
Published Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:40AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:03PM EDT
Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois may have removed the red felt square from her lapel, but the provincial Liberals want to make sure voters don't forget where she stands when it comes to tuition hikes.
They've released a simple, somewhat fuzzily-focused, 15-second ad that shows Marois taking part in a casseroles protest -- banging two pot lids together.
No words are spoken, and the video ends with the Liberal party's slogan.
The less-than-flattering ad has prompted a threatening legal letter.
Guy Seguin sent a letter to the governing Liberals asking that they take the video down.
Liberal Party director general Karl Blackburn responded to the man, stating that he was "astonished" with the request. According to Blackburn, Seguin didn't demand that a PQ candidate in Argenteuil remove the video after it was used before the June 11 byelection in that riding. The Liberal lawyer also looked at Seguin's personal Facebook page and cited the man's unauthorized use of the Liberal logo and his dissemination of a parody of a Liberal ad.
Despite the emphatic refusal from the Liberals, YouTube removed the video just before 7:00 p.m., citing Seguin's notice that his copyright had been violated.
Premier Jean Charest defended the 15-second spot.
"This illustrates an episode in the political life of Pauline Marois that Quebecers have an interest in knowing," Charest told reporters Tuesday. "The image speaks for itself. We did not suggest a conclusion Quebecers should reach -- given how obvious that conclusion is."
The Liberal Ad on YouTube
A McGill University expert on intellectual property and Internet suggested the Liberals might be forced to stop running the ad because it goes against the creator's moral rights under the Copyright Act.
Richard Gold said that Facebook is normally a grey area because certain uses are permitted when it comes to images, such as sharing a video with friends or commenting on it.
"But this is quite different," he said. "This is taking it off Facebook and associating it with a cause."
Gold said he doesn't believe the Liberals have the right to use the video for their own purposes without permission, nor do they have the right to manipulate the footage.
He said this ad is different from a famous one made by the federal Conservatives. The notorious Stephane Dion, "not-a-leader," ad used media footage from a 2006 leadership debate in which Dion responded to criticism from then-opponent Michael Ignatieff by saying, "Do you think it's easy to make priorities?" The spot painted Dion as weak and indecisive.
Comparing this Marois ad to that one, Gold said regulated broadcasters generally make their footage available, while Seguin as a private citizen has no obligation to do so.
He said, however, that if the PQ had obtained rights to the video or if it was shot at their behest, then the Liberals might have an opening to argue that it's fair game.
Earlier this week Marois said it was regrettable that the Liberal party had not merged with the Coalition Avenir Quebec, because "they look so much alike."
Last week Jean Charest appeared in a partisan ad touting the benefits of 'political courage.'
--with files from The Canadian Press.