Edmonton

Travel Alberta fights U.S. filmmakers over oilsands spoof

Two American filmmakers are battling Travel Alberta over their use of a tourism advertisement in an anti-oilsands spoof posted to YouTube.
The travel board says a parody that uses one of its commercials violates copyright rules 1:53

Two American filmmakers are battling Travel Alberta over their use of a tourism advertisement in an anti-oilsands spoof posted to YouTube.

The video, which is a trailer for a still-unmade anti-oilsands documentary called "Welcome to Fort McMoney", incorporates part of the travel board’s "Remember to Breathe" campaign.

"What's happening in a certain area in Alberta is going to make it difficult for all of us to breathe in the near future," said comedian Andy Cobb, who made the film with Mike Damanskis, also a comedian.

Lawyers for the travel board were able to convince YouTube to remove the video after alleging use of the "Remember to Breathe" campaign is a violation of copyright rules.

"The only thing that differentiates Alberta from any other competing tourism destination is our brand....and we were just trying to protect it," said Travel Alberta CEO Bruce Okabe.

Cobb disagrees and plans to fight back.

"Being a satirist, we take certain liberties with material in order to make fun of it or to make fun of the people who produce it," he said. "That's one of our rights and gosh darnit, we love it."

Canada has a new law that protects parody from certain copyright rules but lawyers told CBC News that it hasn't really been tested since it came into effect last year.

The attention raised over the controversy is benefitting the filmmakers. They’ve been able to raise $20,000, which will allow them to travel to Fort McMurray and make the documentary, they say.