The four major parties vying for control of Montreal city hall (yeah, let’s go ahead and include Louise O’Sullivan) all seemed to have embraced the new online trends. They all have Facebook and Twitter (though some use the latter more than others). The two top contenders also have YouTube channels and upload official candidate photos and campaign photos to Flickr.
But, I wondered, do they really have a firm grasp of social media? We’ll set aside the fact that none of the four websites is fully bilingual, and move on to the fine print: how do the four parties handle copyright?
Since these are campaign websites, one would expect they would want to encourage dissemination of their pictures, slogans and press releases as much as possible. But that’s not exactly the case.
- Union Montreal is the only party to release its content (Union Montreal’s fine print is still French-only) under a Creative Commons license, though it is the most restrictive of such licenses. It does not allow commercial use of the content (which could conceivably mean not publishing candidate photos in commercial media), nor the creation of derivative works (which would prevent activists from creating mashups of those photos). Also, all the party’s photos uploaded to Flickr are still marked “all rights reserved”, which is the default copyright license.
- Vision Montreal’s fine print (the only one available in English, ironically), is complete boilerplate legalese: “All content, including texts, articles, photos, images and illustrations, belongs to Vision Montréal or the appropriate authors. It is forbidden to modify, copy, distribute, broadcast, transmit, represent, reproduce, publish, concede under license, transfer or sell said content without prior authorization from Vision Montréal or its appropriate authors.”
- Projet Montréal’s website has no fine print, no indication of a copyright notice, in either language.
- Parti Montréal Ville-Marie (Louise O’Sullivan’s party) is vague about its copyright license, saying that use and reproduction of its content can be used only for journalistic and activist purposes.
If these parties want bloggers and others to promote them, especially online, they need to be a bit more permissive than that.