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CBC argues that CPC election ad “degraded” broadcaster’s reputation

The CBC is continuing its push to sue the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) for allegedly infringing on the Crown corporation’s copyright after the party used the broadcaster’s news footage in an election advertisement. 

In a submission made to the Federal Court on Thursday, a lawyer representing the CBC claimed that the Conservatives exploited the broadcaster’s reputation for trustworthiness when it used the footage and degraded its reputation. 

“The works in issue are the products of CBC’s skill and judgment; they reflect its high journalistic standards, practices, efforts and ethics. The use and the unfairness of the use poses a real risk of eroding CBC’s trustworthiness and reputation in the eyes of the public,” said CBC lawyer Andrea Gonsalves. 

“That’s antithetical to the very reason that material was created in the first place. The use of the materials here degrades CBC’s journalistic work by deploying it to partisan ends.”

During the 2019 federal election, the Conservatives published a political advertisement criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s record in office. 

Originally, the lawsuit named CBC journalists Rosemary Baton and Jon Paul Tasker as applicants but the broadcaster has since removed the two journalists claiming that the Crown corporation “was the driver of this process, not the journalists.“

The CBC has since argued that the use of the clip was “sensational and one-sided” and that they had concerns that the ad made the public broadcaster look pro-Conservative. 

In response to the latest legal argument, the CPC has claimed that the broadcaster’s targeting of the party is selective considering the fact that other parties have also used CBC content in their ads. 

“Despite the concern that CBC professes for its journalistic integrity, only the CPC faces legal action for the use of CBC content,” argued the CPC in response to the claims. 

“That strongly suggests that this case amounts to little more than CBC’s selectively enforcing its copyrights to distance itself from one — and only one — political party.”

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