Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Federal Court Rules Fair Use Applies to Radio Commentary

It seems to be relatively self-evident that you can take small snippets of somebody's content in order to criticize it. But it's a whole lot nicer to have a federal district court saying it.

-Sam Bayard, assistant director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society

In Wendy Davis, "Court Rules Fair Use, Dismisses Radio Host's Suit," Online Media Daily, June 29, 2008.

Federal judge Susan Illston in San Francisco dismissed popular radio host Michael Savage's copyright infringement lawsuit against the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The organization has posted four minutes of clips (of a two-hour program) in which Savage asserted that "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."

Savage's suit argued that CAIR took his statements out of context in order ruin his image and raise funds. Illston said that even if the contention were true, use of the material still constituted fair use. "Plaintiff's allegation that defendants repackaged the original, misportraying its meaning and message, creates a presumption that the work is transformative," she wrote. US law typically considers material copied for transformative purposes, such as critiques or explanation, is generally considered fair use.

Savage's lawyer said that he is considering an appeal.

No comments: