Crude Copyright Complaints To Silence an Oil Company Satire
The Alberta tourism bureau—which shares a law firm with some of the Canadian province's major oil companies—used a copyright takedown notice to try to smother a movie trailer that satirizes Alberta's oil sands project. The two-and-a-half-minute trailer used about four seconds of an Alberta travel advertisement to contrast its lush nature shots with images of environmental destruction in the oil fields, and to satirize its "Remember to Breathe" slogan. These are fair uses that should have been obvious to Tourism Alberta's lawyers, and ordering the trailer down earns Travel Alberta a place in EFF's Takedown Hall of Shame.
While Cobb and Damanskis, the comedy duo behind the campaign, might discourage some people from visiting Alberta by pointing out the irony of inviting tourists to "Remember to Breathe" the air near a vast oil works, that's not the sort of harm that copyright law was meant to stop. Travel Alberta and Dentons know this—or they should. Using copyright to take down the "Fort McMoney" trailer is no more than a crude attempt at censorship.