Delta council candidate Neil Corbett was out at midnight Monday (Oct. 24) trying to cover up the Corporation of Delta logo in his campaign signs with a felt pen.
While putting up signs earlier that day, he received a call from Delta’s chief election officer Angila Bains advising him he was in copyright infringement and could not use the bulrush brand that appears behind Corbett in a photo on his signs. She informed him a legal notice was in the mail.
“It was quite a surprise,” Corbett said, noting the possibility of copyright infringement never crossed his mind when he selected the headshot, taken after a Tour de Delta race.
Corbett says he has 30 large signs and “countless” small ones—all with the same photo—spread out across Delta. He has also placed several newspaper ads which feature the picture.
Corbett estimates it would cost $2,000 to replace signs, but that is not an option for financial and timeline reasons.
“I’m trying to do this on a limited budget as an independent candidate and trying to be fiscally responsible too, so I wouldn’t even consider replacing the signs,” he said. “I would just take them down if I had too, but I don’t see why just covering up the logos wouldn’t be a sensible solution to the issue.”
He hopes that blacking out the bulrush brand, with a pen or some other means, will do the trick.
A press release from Delta’s office of the municipal clerk says the chief elections officer and bylaws staff are monitoring political signage for the 2011 civic election to ensure they comply with Delta bylaws and provincial regulations.
“In response to an election sign issue raised by the Chief Election Officer on October 24th, candidates are advised that the use of Delta’s brand for election materials is not permitted. Delta’s bulrush brand is trade-marked by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and cannot be used by external parties; such use could be interpreted as Delta endorsing a particular candidate, thereby compromising the impartiality of the elections campaign. One candidate has been notified with respect to unauthorized use of Delta’s brand and has been given time to remove the brand from their campaign signs,” the press release states.
Corbett said he understands the municipality does not want to be seen as endorsing any candidate.
“Unfortunately, that didn’t really cross my mind as I put the signs up. I thought it was a nice kind of homey Delta touch,” he said.
The press release also notes that paid newspaper advertisements placed by the Corporation of Delta following the declaration of the election cannot include a photo or name of any elected official until the election is over.