Canwest drops lawsuit against Mordecai Briemberg

Canwest MediaWorks has dropped its lawsuit against retired college instructor Mordecai Briemberg, according to a citizens’ group formed to assist his cause. Anne Roberts, cochair of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, told the Straight that Briemberg and his supporters are “celebrating a victory” over Canwest’s decision, which came after an extensive public campaign against the media giant.

Roberts said that Canwest is continuing its lawsuit against two other defendants, Gordon Murray and Carel Moiseiwitsch, in connection with a parody of the Vancouver Sun that was distributed in June 2007. Murray and Moiseiwitsch, two vociferous advocates of Palestinian rights, have publicly acknowledged that they created the newspaper parody, which satirized Canwest’s coverage of the Middle East. Briemberg, who is also an advocate of Palestinian rights, always denied that he was involved in the production of the parody.

“Of course, Mordecai and all of us are going to carry on with the defence committee and work with Gordon and Carel,” Roberts said.

Canwest’s lawsuit claimed that the defendants violated the Trade-marks Act as well as B.C. common law by using the Vancouver Sun logo in the fake newspaper they published. Canwest also alleged in court documents that the defendants distributed about 12,000 copies of the parody. The company is seeking punitive and aggravated damages.

“The sole, or predominant intention of the defendants in entering into the conspiracy was to embarrass and to injure the plaintiff in its business and the defendants were motivated by hostility to the principal shareholders of the plaintiff and by a desire to undermine, or hurt, the business of the plaintiff and its principal shareholders,” Canwest alleged in its statement of claim filed in December 2007.