Screen-Shot-2016-11-02-at-9.47.42-AM.png

The Case of the Vanishing Site C Video

Last week DeSmog Canada published a video about the Site C dam on Facebook that — after generating nearly 120,000 views in 36 hours — was suddenly removed due to a complaint lodged by True North Entertainment, a B.C. government contractor.

The video, Cutting Through the Spin on the Site C Dam, featured an interview with Harry Swain, chair of the provincial-federal panel responsible for reviewing the controversial hydro dam.

Swain, a high-profile critic of Site C, explained why he thinks it’s a mistake to build the dam and how the B.C. government has changed its story over the years to justify the $9-billion project, the most expensive public infrastructure project in the province’s history.

The five-minute video featured footage almost exclusively filmed by DeSmog Canada but also included some small selections of b-roll footage from the Province of B.C.’s YouTube page.

More than 3,300 people had shared the video on Facebook as of Thursday night but come Friday morning, the video had vanished from every single page it previously appeared on.

A notification from Facebook simply stated the video was removed due to a copyright infringement complaint. The only recourse available was to discuss the matter with Kyle Koch, president and creative director for True North Entertainment, the individual who filed the complaint.

In a conversation with DeSmog Canada, Koch refused to specifically identify what footage he believed violated intellectual property rights.

Kyle Koch

The vast majority of the media created for the Province of B.C. is licensed under Creative Commons terms, ensuring photos and video paid for with provincial tax-dollars are available for public use with attribution.

But Koch said the Site C video drew from material his company licensed to the province under a one-time use only licence.

“The bottom line is they didn’t have a big budget. We gave them some opportunity to have some elements from our library,” Koch said.

Although he wouldn’t specify, it appears the footage Koch was referring to originated in a Government of B.C. promotional video for “Clean LNG.”

The video, which appeared on the province’s YouTube page is licensed under a “Standard YouTube Licence,” meaning it cannot be re-used. DeSmog Canada erred in drawing from that video.

Today we are releasing a revised version of the Site C film without the b-roll from that particular video.

The BC Liberals and Premier Christy Clark have come under criticism recently for hefty promotional budgets used to advertise government’s activities, policies and projects.

DeSmog Canada has learned that $1,641,253 in taxpayers dollars have been paid to True North Media for services provided to the government since 2006.

In this instance, the province produced tax-dollar-funded promotional material that can not be repurposed in other (even non-profit) media productions, but that is not necessarily the standard for governments.

The United States government, for example, doesn’t hold copyright over any material it produces.

All of this raises the question: if content is produced with government messaging, promoted on their channels and paid for with public dollars, shouldn’t the government hold copyright and make it available to the public who paid for it?

We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?
We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?

Western Canada is on fire — again

In Alberta, parts of Fort McMurray are evacuating again. In B.C., more than 4,000 residents of Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation were...

Continue reading

Recent Posts

Thousands of members make The Narwhal’s independent journalism possible. Will you help power our work in 2024?
Will you help power our journalism in 2024?
That means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
Readers used to find us on Facebook. Now we’re blocked
That means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
Readers used to find us on Facebook. Now we’re blocked
Overlay Image