The $50,000 federal lawsuit against the Canadian Anti-hate Network (CAHN) was launched by Lawney Rosebrook, a Stittsville, Ontario, photographer after the organization allegedly used a January 29, 2022, photo of a protester without attribution.
CAHN is alleged to have passed the photographers' work off as a screenshot from one of the many live streams from the Ottawa site of the weeks-long anti-COVID mandate demonstration, which ended in mid-February 2022 following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's invocation of the Emergencies Act.
Details of the suit, first published by Blacklock's Reporter Thursday morning, have not been proven in court. The Hill Times and Mark Slapinksi, publisher of Toronto99, are also named in the suit, which asks for $20,000 in copyright violations and another $30,000 in damages.
According to a statement from Rosebrook, the media companies accused of improperly using his work would not respond to his earlier demand letters.
"Several companies shamelessly published my work without providing any attribution or compensating me for my creative efforts... Despite sending demand letters my requests have gone unheeded."
CAHN is accused in court documents of misleading the source of Rosebrook's photo.
According to Fred Wu of Wu Law of Toronto:
“The Canadian Anti-Hate Network misrepresented to the Hill Times that the photograph was a screenshot from a video" and "failed to adequately vet the propriety of its source.”
“The Canadian Anti-Hate Network failed to respond in good faith to Mr. Rosebrook’s request for a copyright licensing fee ...The Anti-Hate Network showed intentional disregard for its obligations under copyright law.”
CAHN has received $536,000 in federal funding since 2020.