Stephen Harper Sued For Seinfeld Tweet; PM Contravened Own Copyright Legislation

OTTAWA – Sony Pictures Television has filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a breach of the Copyright Modernization Act, which was ironically tabled and passed by the Harper government itself earlier this year.

On December 12th, 2012, Harper tweeted a link to a YouTube video containing a clip from the popular television sitcom Seinfeld, which aired during the 1990s.

Stephen Harper Tweet

Stephen Harper Tweet – Serenity Now!

In its lawsuit, Sony claims that the uploaded Youtube video is illegal and its distribution is unauthorized.  The lawsuit further states that, by providing a link to the unauthorized video, Harper was endorsing and partaking in copyright infringement.

Legal expert Mikael Ghost of the University of Ottawa explained that such a case would have been without merit prior to the passing of Bill C-11, the new copyright legislation passed by the government.

“During the public consultations that were conducted prior to the tabling of the legislation,” stated Ghost, “there were significant concerns voiced by both the legal community and by grassroots activists about the wide scope of the legislation, and how individuals could be held liable for copyright infringement by merely linking to unauthorized material on the Internet.  Unfortunately, the government did not heed those concerns, and now it seems that government’s newly passed law has ensnared its own leader.”

Ghost was certain that Harper would have to resign.  “It certainly doesn’t look good for him.  The government’s drive to eliminate judicial discretion means that copyright infringement in the new legislation carries a 50-year mandatory minimum jail sentence.  He’s likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”


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