Tories never sought permission to use ’72 Summit Series clip in Harper ad

The marketing agency that licenses video of the Canada – Soviet Union 1972 Summit Series on behalf of the players says the Conservative Party never asked permission to use its footage in a Stephen Harper campaign ad.

The long-form TV commercial has already made headlines in the U.S. for its uncanny similarity to a slick promotional spot for putative Republican presidential contender Tim Pawlenty.

Where the Pawlenty spot uses images of Martin Luther King and the Statue of Liberty, the Harper ad offers rolling wheat fields, snow-covered mountains and footage of Paul Henderson scoring the winning goal in Game 7  (not to be confused with his iconic series winner in Game 8 — “Here’s another shot. Right in front. They score  — Henderson!”) .

Henderson is shown shooting as he falls to the ice, draped in Soviet defenders. The puck hums past Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak just under the crossbar.  In the voice-over, the hockey-loving Conservative leader describes Canada as “the best country in the world.”

The rights to clip and all other Summit 72 products belong to the players who played on the Canadian team and their partner licensing company, Ficel Sports and Entertainment.

Horst Ficel, a partner in the firm, says that Hockey Canada granted the players the rights to all the marketing of the series in the mid-1990s. Today, a committee with player representatives decides who can license the footage.

Ficel is busy fielding requests for permission to use the clips to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of the historic series.

But decidedly not among those requesting permission was the Conservative Party of Canada, Ficel said..

“It’s definitely not approved by me. It’s not approved by the committee.”

He says the committee is careful to avoid anything that might be considered political.

Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow said he believes all the clips in the ad are properly licensed but said he would check further to make sure. He later said in an email that he had no comment.

Salaries for hockey players in 1972 were a fraction of what they are today, and licensing of the clips and merchandise provide those on the team with a bit of extra income.


23 thoughts on “Tories never sought permission to use ’72 Summit Series clip in Harper ad

  1. So the players who played on the ’72 team own the rights to the clip, including one Ken Dryden, Liberal candidate for York-Centre? Oh, that’s just too funny.

    • Who cares about Dryden! The clip was used without permission. You do understand the concept of ownership, rights, permission, royalties, etc etc etc? If you have NOT received permission you CAN’T use the clip! Regardless if Dryden or even if Harper were on the team that played! Without a release allowing the clip to be used YOU CANNOT USE IT! Such a simple straight forward concept and yet Conservatives have a problem understanding it! And Conservatives are considered the law and order party? The law says you need permission! If NO PERMISSION then you can’t use it! Clear?

    • So what’s your point…that it’s OK to steal from people who are well-off? In any case, number of those guys didn’t do so well.

      • Actually, my point was that it was funny (in a raised-eyebrow kind of way) how the #CPC was using a clip that was owned – in part – by a Liberal candidate. It’s also owned by a Liberal-appointed Senator, Frank Mahovlich. That’s what my point was. No need to get all antsy about it.

  2. No scandal too small, eh Glenn?

    If there was ever any doubt to what extent the press gallery is willing to go to stop a Conservative majority, it can be put to rest.

    • Oh, come now! The licensing of other people’s property is protected under the law. You cannot use other people’s property without getting their permission regardless who the owner is! Why is that such a hard concept to understand? You want to use the clip then get permission from the owners! It is NOT OK for anyone, even Conservatives, to use someone else’s property without permission! Pay the freight or don’t use it!

      Why do you want to try and make this into something the Liberals did? The CONSERVATIVES used a clip they had not received permission to use! The CONSERVATIVES have broken a law. Pay restitution and if they still won’t give permission for Conservatives to use the clip then you can’t use the clip!

  3. The Conservative Party used a clip from the CBC on its hate attack ads against Michael Ignatief without permission. Their position was they could do as they pleased, and apparently they are continuing with this approach. Those who support them had better hope that the Conservatives don’t decide that they want something they own.

  4. Pingback: The Summit Series

  5. Stephen Harper proved early on that he is a plagiarist. He copied the Australian prime minister’s speech as his position on Canadian involvement in Iraq. When called on it, he dismissed it as “a fairly standard bit of political rhetoric.” No mea culpa, no shame, no recognition that what he had done offended all world standards of veracity.
    With the attack ads, phony quotes, altered documents, leaked documents, this man has produced a regime whose culture has substituted the lowest kind of academic cheating for the integrity and openness promised in the campaign which allowed him to slip into power.
    But of course none of that matters if he says it doesn’t.
    Unless we get off our couches and vote. While we still can.

  6. Actually Hockey Canada did not own all the rights so could not grant them elsewhere. I don’t know if this was one of the clips they controlled or not — I have the DVD box set but don’t have the time to go check — but there were other cameras there and the owners of those cameras own other clips.

    It was also a consortium which broadcast the ’72 series (CTV and CBC), by the way, and the last hurrah for legendary Foster Hewitt at the microphone. Paul Henderson should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame — it shouldn’t be about 20 years in the NHL, it should be about greatness under pressure, and 3 winning goals in the final 3 games of the greatest series ever played is true greatness. Every school across Canada was shut down so we could watch. This was Canada at its best, which I believe is what the Conservative ad is saying. Maybe every news show will now play the ad free 5 times!

  7. Whoever wrote this story does not have a clue what he is talking about. Just because someone happens to appear in a video does not mean that person (or group of people) owns any rights to the video. The video clip is owned by the owner of the film, and can be licensed at will by the owner of the film! And there’s also something called fair-use doctrine, which may also apply here. Another flameout Lib attack. Pathetic.

    • Actually, “fair-use” is a US law doctrine; in Canada, it’s properly called “fair-dealing”. Unlike in the US, the Canadian concept of “fair-dealing” is much more narrow than US “fair-use” as the permitted uses are specifically enumerated in sections 29 and on in the Canadian Copyright Act, whereas the US law is more open-ended. Note political uses are not included in the Canadian version.

      You can find the Canadian Copyright Act here:

      (As a sidenote, copyright reform has been in the works for the last couple Parliaments. The proposed bills can be found on Parliament’s website:

      I leave it up to you to decide how those proposals would change existing law.)

  8. I have never watched Harper on TV for more than 5 or 10 seconds until the 2011 debates.

    I couldn’t believe it! He’s actually enjoying lying to us on national TV, just like Paul Ekman’s description of Philby’s lying smirk in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”. Harper lacks Phiby’s skill; he can’t control his “duping delight”. He smirks and smiles contemptuously because he thinks he’s fooling us and he just loves it!

    It gets worse, it’s the trait of a con artist with no scruples.

    And much worse: “Never, ever, has someone who displayed these traits been a leader with the intention of doing something good”.

    About 40% of Canadians continue to be fooled by him. Those are the ones he’s laughing at when he tells a lie that they believe and he’s laughing at all of us whenever he speaks of a majority “Harper” Government. Just watch the video!

    All Canadians need to understand that, currently, Harper is by far the most important issue in this election.

    Here’s what I can’t figure out: With all the Canadians who have read “Blink” and have been watching Harper for years how can the debate headline possibly be “Harper keeps his cool”?

    One last observation, in the CPC spot, Harper begins with “Canada is and always has been our country”.

    OK, you can agian breathe now. But get to work on this – please.

  9. Pirates of the internet rejoice!!! The conservative theft of copyright material has set a legal precedent in Canada!!

    Anyone facing charges for illegally downloading songs, movies, software just needs to point out that the conservative government supports copyright infringement, and thus nullifies any laws they may be charged with…

    AVAST matey!! Stephen Harper here for the internet pirates..

  10. It should be noted that this is not an isolated incident: the CPC is a serial offender and a flagrant scofflaw on copyright issues:

    not only did they have to pull the CBC footage of an Ignatieff rally earlier this year,

    but they also used the O’Jays’ “For the love of money” music w/o auth. in a 2008 ad

    and the footage to a documentary film this year, w/o its creator’s permission—-or-breaking-copyright.html

    and they also posted his hideous ‘Imagine’ performance beside the little Winnipeg girl, on Youtube, without getting Yoko Ono’s permission, and they had to pull that, too.

    So not are they chronic white collar criminals, they’re also very slow learners.

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  12. If everyone is worried about copyright. Why do we have YOUTUBE!!!! I have seen many a video, picture that should not have been in cyber space, but there it is. So why the complaint. I guess we had better shut everything down some one can get charged.

  13. Wasn’t this footage produced by the CBC? Our tax dollars paid for it’s production. How can private interests own the rights to government broadcast produced images?

    Did CBC sell the rights to the production to private interests? The play by play was by Foster Hewitt who was a CBC, thus a government employee. Is his performance “owned” by private interests too?

  14. Pingback: Canadian PM Copies Campaign Commercial, Doesn’t License Hockey Clips | Geek News and Musings

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