Writers rally behind Robinson

As Cinar appeals last year's $5.2 million plagiarism ruling, colleagues turn to the public for help with the embattled animator's court costs

MONTREAL — Quebec’s artistic community has launched an online fundraising campaign to help animator Claude Robinson continue his 15-year legal battle in appeal court against the children’s producer formerly known as Cinar Corp.

Cinar is appealing a decision in Quebec Superior Court, which last year agreed that Robinson’s 1982 creation Robinson Curiosité was plagiarized by the company to make the program Robinson Sucroé. Robinson was awarded $5.2 million, though he has not yet seen any of the money.

The battle-worn animator will instead be back in court in September 2011.

Claude Robinson

To help pay the bills, a group of fellow writers and other creatives are soliciting donations from the public. ‘This is a very important fight, and it’s one that regular people are following with interest. This campaign isn’t organized by a particular association, but mainly by friends of Claude’s,’ says Sylvie Lussier, president of the Quebec writers group SARTEC. ‘We nearly have 5,000 supporters on Facebook.’

In 2002, SARTEC raised $84 000 for Robinson, which covered costs related to the original trial. Robinson’s lawyers are foregoing their fees until the case is over, but the appeal process will nonetheless cost roughly $200,000, says Lussier.

‘Claude has won his first match, but he is far from having won the battle and we want to make sure that he doesn’t have to worry about money,’ said Pierre Paquet, president of Communications Voir, at a press conference. ‘We want to equalize things. This is a citizen’s movement that we are launching.’

The campaign has launched a Facebook page and a website, www.clauderobinson.org.

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