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‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of legendary Mountie

The RCMP say they “stand corrected” and Cranbrook business Jimmy’s Cannabis will not have to remove an image of legendary lawman Sam Steele displayed in one of their windows after all, after the RCMP consulted further with their historian, who informed them he is not wearing an RCMP uniform in the image.

BACKGROUND: RCMP asks new cannabis shop to remove image of Sam Steele

It’s been a high-profile week for Jimmy’s Cannabis Shop considering the store just opened its doors last Wednesday, with news that the store had been asked by the RCMP to take the photo of Sam Steele down due to copyright infringement making headlines nation wide.

Cannabis stores are mandated to have opaque window coverings to prevent onlookers from seeing in and owner Jeff Weaver opted to go with historical images for his stores instead of “uninviting” glazed glass or something along those lines.

Weaver originally agreed to take the photo down in the verbal conversation with a local officer, but after consulting a historian, he learned that the image of Steele he chose shows him wearing not a RCMP uniform but a military one.

“We are elated,” Weaver told the Townsman. “This is fantastic news that we are not impinging upon any trademark issues with the RCMP and we hope that Sam Steele the man will be the thing that’s celebrated from here on out.”

Today Cpl. Caroline Duval from RCMP media relations in Ottawa provided a statement confirming that Steele is in fact wearing a military uniform depicted on the window.

“The RCMP stands corrected on the statement that Sam Steele is wearing the uniform of the North West Mounted Police in the image used by the cannabis store. We had further discussions with our historian, who informed and corrected us on:

Superintendent Samuel Benfield Steele, Reg. No. 1 (O.40) was struck off the strength of the North-West Mounted Police on January 3, 1903.

The photograph of Sam Steele, from which the disputed image is derived, is from the portrait published in the frontispiece of Sam Steele’s autobiography “Forty Years in Canada” written in 1914 but due the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, was not published until 1915.”

The RCMP statement explains that in 1914, Colonel Steele was the Officer in Command of Military District 10 in Winnipeg, MB. In the photo Weaver picked for his store Steele is wearing the uniform of a full Colonel in the Canadian Militia.

In the statement Duval said that the RCMP wishes to remind the public that “notwithstanding the correction and honest mistake, the name and image of the RCMP are protected under the intellectual property laws of Canada and requires prior authorization before any business or enterprise can use it.

Meaning that if Steele was depicted in RCMP regalia in the photo, Weaver would have had to officially request permission to use it, and had the request been denied, he would have had to remove it.



paul.rodgers@cranbrooktownsman.com
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