Flick Harrison on Fri, 3 Feb 2012 04:45:44 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Email exchange between reporter, Transport Canada removed due to ‘copyright infringement’




Wendy Gillis
Staff Reporter

Transport Canada says a copyright violation complaint it filed against Xtra.ca after the website published correspondence between a reporter and a media relations officer has nothing to do with the exchange.

On Tuesday, Xtra.ca posted the complete on-the-record correspondence between Transport Canada and reporter Andrea Houston using Scribd, a publishing website that allows users to upload documents to its server and embed them in a webpage.


The document in question outlined Transport Canada?s airline identity screening regulationsallowing air carriers to refuse to transport a passenger if he or she does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification presented. The regulations have prompted outrage in the transgendered community, and Xtra ? which specializes in gay, lesbian and transgendered news ? wanted to give readers complete access to Transport Canada?s information, said Matt Mills, editorial director for Xtra Toronto.

But on Wednesday, Scribd removed the document, posting a statement that the document was ?removed due to copyright infringement.?

Patrick Charette, the media relations manager with Transport Canada, confirmed Thursday that Transport Canada filed the complaint, but only because it contained the direct email and phone number of media relations officer Maryse Durette.

Publishing contact information does not violate any Canadian copyright laws, and media officers? contact information is public information because they are public servants.

But concern was that a service intended for media would be ?inundated? by calls from the public, Charette said.

?The intervention that we did with Scribd yesterday had nothing to do with the content. We wanted to limit the distribution of direct phone number and email,? he said.

?They could have called me,? Houston told the Star. ?I could easily removed that directly. There didn?t have to be a copyright violation filed. That was unnecessary.?

Durette went to Scribd first because it was the middle of the night and she was concerned about getting calls, Charette said.

Out of courtesy for the officers, it?s typically asked that email signatures containing direct contact information not be published, Charette said.

Scribd did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the reason it removed a document that did not infringe on copyright.

According to its copyright policy, complaints of copyright infringement can be made pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the complainant must include a statement that he or she ?has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.?

Charette said Scribd may have removed the document because the request came directly from the individual involved.

The entire exchange between Houston and Xtra has now been copied and pasted into a document now posted on the Xtra.ca site. It provides only the general media line for Transport Canada.

Xtra stands by publishing the correspondence pertaining to Transport Canada screening regulations.

?Obviously, it?s a matter of public interest. We don?t feel in any way uncomfortable about reproducing this thing,? said Mills.


* FLICK's WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.flickharrison.com 

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