Skip to comments.Court Rules Fair Use, Dismisses Radio Host's Suit
Posted on 07/31/2008 11:56:25 AM PDT by Jim Robinson
A federal judge has dismissed radio host Michael Savage's copyright infringement lawsuit against the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations, which had posted excerpts of one of his programs online.
Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco ruled that the clips, totaling four minutes out of the two-hour Savage Nation program that ran on Oct. 29, 2007, constituted a fair use.
"Defendants used plaintiff's material in order to criticize and comment on plaintiff's statements and views," Illston wrote in the 21-page ruling.
Savage filed suit for copyright infringement and racketeering last December. Among other allegations, Savage asserted that the CAIR took his statements out of context in order to harm his public image as well as to help the organization raise funds. The clips were excerpted from a program in which Savage said, "The Quran is a document of slavery and chattel," and that Islam is "a religion that teaches convert or kill, a religion that says oppress women, kill homosexuals."
Illston discounted both arguments. She ruled that even if the organization used the clips to raise money, doing so would have been a fair use of Savage's work. "The sum of plaintiff's allegations and evidence demonstrate that there will be no actual or potential market impact on the original work," she wrote. "The audience that might donate and listen to the audio segment on defendants' Web site is separate from the audience that plaintiff possibly could stand to profit from in using his Web site to sell the audio content at issue."
(Excerpt) Read more at mediapost.com ...
Well Jim, this opens up a lot of possibilities on FR.
Are you in disagreement with the ruling?
I love it. Take that Weiner. Now you can get back to stabbing conservatives in the back and being jealous of other talk show hosts that have more talent than you.
It’s a grey area.
Rebroadcast an NFL highlight and the league is all over you like white on rice. We here at FR use quotes and copy parts of copyrighted material all the time, so I think a lot depends on who is using what, and whether they are benefiting from it financially is key also.
In this case though I think this judge would have sided with the defense considering who the plaintiff was if she had even the tiniest bit of ambiguity.
Perhaps another judge would have decided differently, I can’t rule out a little prejudice from this lady at all.
why do you love a victory by CAIR?
As far as this site is concerned though it would set a nice precedence for our use of broadcasts to refute statements.
That begs a question, if we are having a Freepathon and asking for donations on the page along with a copyrighted posted material does that open the site up for the monetary benefit laws on fair use?
I am shocked! Shocked I tell you! To think that an honorable Klinton appointee would treat Savage that way!
So you’re in favor of terrorists? Interesting.....
“I love it. Take that Weiner. Now you can get back to stabbing conservatives in the back and being jealous of other talk show hosts that have more talent than you.”
Savage fully expected to lose this one. Can’t say I agree with your characterization of the guy, either. He’s been far more of a conservative than a party hack.
Michael Sewage lost? Thank God he didn’t waste his own money!
Whoa! Holy blockquote, Batman, does this open us up for embedded commentary for AP work product?
Who is more Conservative, Michael Weiner or Juan McAmnesty?
Savage knew he was going to lose in the end ,, you always do when you’re going up against Saudi oil money ,, the funny thing is that he got his point out , the long excerpts used by CAIR spell out clearly why CAIR and fanatical Muslims in general are so very dangerous, everything in the audio is TRUE and CAIR couldn’t refute it with facts.
We now have it on the record that CAIR raised money for terrorist orgs and that itself is a victory and will be a great tool in the future.
Tough call. It's like rooting for the Nazis against the Soviets or vice versa. Pox on em all.
No. As long as Jim is using acceptable excerpts and the intended purpose is discussion and analysis, it makes it a transformative work.
In other words, Jim is not making money off the original excerpt, but primarily the discussions that follow. This is actually an important ruling for FR because it establishes a precedent for the “transformative” argument, which was used by Jim's counsel “Clarity” in the trial long ago.
But it never got that far because at the time Jim/FR wanted to use full text articles, a no-no.
The Fair Use clause relies on three major “tests”. The amount of original material being used, it's intended use and how much it impact the authors ability to derive income from that work..
In this case the court ruled the suit had no merit because 1. the plaintiffs only used 4 minutes of the show (which I think is questionable. As far as a newspaper is concerned the court sees each individual article as a separate “work”. I don't see why this same standard wasn't applied to Savages segments), 2. it was for discussion and analysis, and 3, it ultimately had little impact on the income of the author (which I also disagree with. The judge goes through some legal esoteric contortions to claim that the readers at the CAIR site would not benefit Savage anyway, but if they had posted a shorter excerpt and a link, Savage WOULD have benefited from that traffic.
IMO Savage has grounds for an appeal on 2 of the three “tests” that the judge may have ruled on incorrectly.
"Susan Yvonne Illston is a San Francisco, California-based judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on January 23, 1995 and confirmed by the Senate on May 25, 1995"
Compadre Judge Illston (following orders) as expected
Savage needs to file for appeal based on the contention that a substantial portion of “the work” was used and that he did lose income by not getting linked from CAIR and lost noT ONLY THAT TRAFFIC BUT potential new readers/listeners.
To prove the second point all he has to do is show all the calls or comments he gets from adversaries and opponents.
A case could be made that a significant (20-30%?) portion of his audience and customers are people that disagree with his views.
He’s a shock jock, that’s what he does and that’s how he derives his income. This judge basically ruled he has no copyright protection based on that, but it was a Clinton appointed judge.
IMO, if it had been a liberal show host the ruling would have been different. But that’s what liberal judges do and one more reason why we need to make sure Obama doesn’t get into the White House.