Talk Show Host Michael Savage Sues Muslim Advocacy Group CAIR for Copyright Infringement

Talk show host Michael Savage has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations in an action that threatens journalistis and bloggers and advocacy groups that use material from broadcast and radio programs.  In a lawsuit in federal court in California, Savage strikes out at CAIR for its use of some of his most intolerant comments for organizing opposition among the Muslim and non-Muslim communities.  He uses the complaint to add to his attacks, calling the organization a “political vehicle of international terrorism”  and states that the organization seek to do “material harm to those voices who speak against the violent agenda of CAIR’s clients.”  He goes on to claim:

“The CAIR misappropriation [of the talk show excerpts] was done for political purposes unrelated to civil rights … [but instead] to raise funds for CAIR so that it could self perpetuate and continue to the (sic) disseminate of propaganda on behalf of foreign interests that are opposed to the continued existence of the United States of America as a free nation.”

Fortunately for Savage, such statements in court filings are privileged from defamation charges, but if he has the courage to repeat those statements in public, he will be vulnerable to a lawsuit with merit — unlike his complaint. At issue are audio clips used by CAIR.  These clips include the following offensive segment:  

“I’m not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I’m not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I’m not getting’ on my all-fours and braying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don’t like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don’t wanna hear any more about Islam. I don’t wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I’m sick of you.” 

In another clip, he states:”What sane nation that worships the U.S. Constitution, which is the greatest document of freedom ever written, would bring in people who worship a book that tells them the exact opposite? Make no mistake about it, the Quran is not a document of freedom. The Quran is a document of slavery and chattel. It teaches you that you are a slave.”

In part of his complaint, Savage seems to be laying the groundwork for a false light claim. He claims that CAIR “repackaged” the material to falsely suggest a hatred for Islam– though it is pretty hard to imagine a context where these statements would not reveal such a hatred.One purpose of the complaint may be to allow Savage to make such allegations without exposing himself to lawsuit due to the privilege for legal filings.  This is reinforced by a review of the complaint put on Savage’s website, which is exceptionally weak and vitriolic. The purpose does not appear to be true legal action. If it were, this is a remarkably low-grade effort for a federal filing. For a copy of the complaint, click here For the full story, click here

18 thoughts on “Talk Show Host Michael Savage Sues Muslim Advocacy Group CAIR for Copyright Infringement”

  1. What seems to be happening is that people are weighing the principals in the suit instead of weighing the merit of the suit itself. It shouldn’t matter how vile either party is, just whether any of the actions were in violation of copyright law.

    One must hope that the actual court will be more interested in these facts than the court of public opinion is.

  2. Eddy:

    I assume that you mean Liberalism=hatred of freedom. Linearism may also be intended, of course. Lineal is defined as “belonging to or being in the direct line of descent” — no doubt a reference to all of the freedom hating line of liberals from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson to Louis Brandeis to Thurgood Marshall and so forth. Frankly, it is amazing that with so many freedom hating leaders in our history that we have been able to last long enough to await the arrival of George Bush, John Ashcroft, and Alberto Gonzales.

  3. Of course the irony here is Michael Savage speaks the truth about the dangers of Islaomfasists-and liberals het him for that. Lineralism=hatred of freedom, and it comes as no surprise libs want to ounish a great patriot like Michael savage, yet protect a terrroist group like Muslims.

  4. It is funny how all of you people are putting Savage in question, when the law suit is filed against CAIR. They are the ones that need to prove that they were not involved in illegal activity. Not Michael Savage, he has done nothing illegal. Unless you consider freedom of speech illegal.

    Im sure you good liberals would like nothing more than to put Michael Savage on trial, and convict him of what he is guilty of, speaking his mind. And of course in the new America, there is no more room for freedom of speech, only freedom to silence those who do not agree with your politically correct views.

    I also ask you this. Who is the bigger bigot you think? The strictly radical islamic members of CAIR, or Michael Savage? One can only wonder what the members of CAIR have to say about us christians,jews, hindus, beer drinkers, black people, asians, whites, and all Americans behind closed doors. I can only imagine.

  5. And one more thing …..Mr. Savage uses his stage name in this complaint. His real name is Michael Weiner. I would think he would be required to file under his true name. I could be wrong if he has legally changed it, but…… I wonder.

  6. Jonolan:
    What is good for the goose (here, Savage) is good for the Gander (CAIR). If Savage makes what I think we all agree are mean spirited and hateful comments about muslims, which he is free to do, then CAIR is equally right in publicly commenting upon his speech as well. The manner in which they did so may have run afoul of copyright laws, but that does not justify the completely irrelevant statements that Savage has made about the organization in his complaint.
    Savage’s complaint, which is published on his own website, was purportedly drawn up by a competent attorney, Daniel Horowitz. But my reading of it indicates that 99% of the allegations and paragraphs are not even remotely relevant to his claim of copyright infringement.
    I doubt the thing has even been filed in the court its so poorly written.

  7. Phojo6,

    Please actually learn the law. Legally there is no such thing as “hate speech” if one is describing a crime, unless one is using it a reason to enact the Hate Crime statutes on a separate actual criminal act.

    Unless Savage actively calls for- or explicitly advocates criminal behavior, he is not violating US law. The 1st Amendment is a stone bitch, isn’t it. It protects the rights of people you can’t stand as well as your own rights.

    Also remember popular speech doesn’t need protection!

  8. Jonathanturley,

    You say, “There is certainly grounds for any claim of infringement, but I would bet against him,” and I agree with you. That was the gist of my earlier comments. It will be up to the courts to decide if CAIR’s usage of his material was “advocacy and criticism” or commercial (fund raising campaigns) in nature.

    I have sympathy for him because I have sympathy for any individual who has to go up against a well funded foundation in the courts. It doesn’t help matters that: a) Savage is an ass, b) he wrote a poor complaint, and c) CAIR is vicious in court battles, willing and able to their financial power to overrun the opposition.

  9. Michael (Wiener) Savage is a self-loathing, self-indulgent hate monger who many witnesses attest, will do virtually anything to bring attention to himself.

    He claims that his pending suit “will be a seminal legal event — as important as Roe v. Wade.”

    Like virtually all of his many previous suits, I predict that this latest bull will also fail; most likely to be turned down by the court as lacking legal merit.

    We must recognize that hate speech (90% of the Wienie Man’s verbage) is not free speech — it’s a crime.

  10. Yes, it is easy to pillory Savage, but I too would argue for him were he the one to be muzzled. I should retract my earlier, patrician, characterization of his ilk as “odious”; they simply cater to a certain audience.

    The filing seems pretty sloppy however.

  11. I would be the first to come to Savage’s side if someone tried to censure him for his views. However, that does not mean that these statements should not denounced as bigotry. As for the legal merit, we will see. There is certainly grounds for any claim of infringement, but I would bet against him. More importantly, the complaint is exceptionally poor quality and would be met with a glacial reception by many judges on the grounds of tone and content. There still remains a difference between radio advocacy and legal advocacy.

  12. Michael Savage hold air, the helium type in his damn head, that’s all he holds and possibly Robert’s IQ. He’s a damn bigot and a very stupid one at that.

    I will be more than happy to purchase from those companies that dropped his sorry ass and for those that still advertise on his pathetic “talk” show, I’m dropping them as fast as Robert’s IQ!

  13. Michael Savage holds excellent legal stature. If CAIR succeeds it will be the end of protected free speech in the USA. He is not a bigot and his complaint has moral and legal merit. I for one will not buy from those companies that dropped their advertising.

  14. I fail to see the grounds for sympathy. I also do not see how the well-paid Savage is at a disadvantage. I have only had limited contact with CAIR through the years on cases, including an upcoming event tied to my client Sami Al-Arian. However, they seem over extended in today’s anti-Muslim environment. Savage said these things because they are popular and appeal to the lowest common element of our society. Fair use includes advocacy and criticism as well as news commentary. Savage’s statements have been widely used in the media and are freely copied in the public domain.

  15. Yes, I’m familiar with this section of the law. What I’m unsure of is whether CAIR’s use is truly criticism or fundraising in nature. suppose the Courts will have to decide.

    I feel sorry for Savage though. I’d hate to have to go up against the money and litigation teams of CAIR in a courtroom. They can and do wield the law as a well balanced club against anyone they dislike.

    Of course Savage isn’t exactly worthy of too much sympathy; he’s a raging bigot.

  16. This is cover in Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A [setting forth copyright owners’ exclusive rights and visual artists’ artistic rights], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

  17. We would need details of CAIR’s use of the clips and the copyright details involved in order to intelligently comment. If CAIR used copyrighted clips without permission in any manner inconsistent with “fair use” then Savage has a valid case. The nature of those clips’ contnet is – or should be – irrelevant.

  18. “..a remarkably low grade effort for a federal filing.”

    Mssrs Savage et. al. are an odious and toxic tribe. In other eras they would never have been granted the podium they have gained in this one. Hyde Park ranting at its worst rewarded with national exposure.

    This is purely an attempt to raise his public visibility using the courts as stage scenery.

    Mischievious filing.

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