Monday, January 7, 2008

No news today on the Alberta Alliance's censorship attempt

I haven't heard from, which surprises me a bit, but I notice the documents at the centre of this censorship attempt are still in my account, and are still viewable. In fact, in just two days, they have generated more views than most of the other political documents in my account, which have been available for months.

Given that the documents are still available, has obviously not granted the Alberta Alliance's censorship request - at least so far.

Back in this post, I said this:

I will not be pulling them [the documents complained of], until I have had time to decide if there is any merit to this copyright business. If I decide a political party does have copyright over these kinds of documents, I will pull them. I can't imagine this is the case, but I don't honestly know.
While my research is not totally complete, I have completed enough to state that, under Canadian law, the Alberta Alliance doesn't have a leg to stand on. I own the copies of these documents, and the Alberta Alliance has no copyright. Even if they did have copyright, their copyright wouldn't apply to me, because my activities are considered to be "fair dealing".

Let me expand.

I am described in the complaint as "an unknown individual". This statement is false. I write under a pseudonym - as do many writers - but I am in fact well known to the author of the complaint. She knows I write this blog, and she knows I write critical commentary about the Alberta Alliance Party and its policies. She knows these things very well, yet she chose to omit any reference to any of this in the complaint.

But my background as a critical commentator on the affairs and policies of the Alberta Alliance is highly relevant to the copyright issue, which lies at the centre of the complaint. People are allowed to copy documents protected by copyright if their purpose is research, criticism, review, or reporting. These exceptions are known as "fair dealing". (See sections 29 through 29.2 of the federal Copyright Act.)

I posted my copies of the old Alberta Alliance Constitution and Policy Book on in support of my political writing. Think about it. What other purpose could I have? Political research and writing is the raison d'etre of Alberta Alliance Watch, and the laws of fair dealing apply to me in the same way they apply to everybody else.

It's time you Alberta Alliance members started to figure things out.

I am allowed to dissent, and I am allowed to support my dissenting arguments with the documentation that I deem necessary. Your party's attempts to inhibit my political research, and stifle my writing, with a trumped up, incompetently drafted complaint, proves that the people running your party are in over their heads. These people don't belong in public office - where they could do some serious damage.

By the way, the complaint contains another factually false statement. The Alberta Alliance describes the copy of the draft constitution I posted as a "confidential" document.


I obtained this document in the summer of 2006 off the Alberta Alliance website. It has been sitting on my hard drive ever since. This document was available to the public, and most certainly was not confidential. Here is a screencap of how the Alberta Alliance website used to look. I don't specifically recall if this is the page I used to obtain the constitution, but it was something along these lines. As you can see, in the past, the Alberta Alliance was distributing the party constitution free of charge to anybody who wanted one. I did want one, so I paid for the bandwidth to download it, and that is how I came into possession of it.

The only possible explanation for this blatant falsehood is that the Alliance knows it has no basis for a valid complaint, so it is attempting to add some heft to the thing by suggesting I obtained possession of a "confidential" document through improper means.

It is a banana republic tactic, and the ease with which the AAP fabricates facts is, to be frank, a bit spooky.

The complaint should be withdrawn forthwith, and the Alberta Alliance should cease and desist from harassing me with these frivolous allegations.