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Using audio clip for criticism is fair use

District Court spanks Michael Savage suit

From the Citizen Media Law Project blog:

In a huge victory for freedom of speech, on Friday a federal district court in California dismissed conservative talk show host Michael Savage’s lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The decision reaffirms that using limited portions of someone’s copyrighted work for purposes of criticizing that work generally falls within copyright law’s fair use exception.

Savage’s complaint alleged that CAIR violated Savage’s copyright by posting a four-minute audio clip taken from one of Savage’s shows, in which Savage made disparaging and hateful remarks about Muslims and Islam. CAIR posted the audio clip on its website along with detailed criticism of Savage’s remarks and a call for "radio listeners of all faiths to contact companies that advertise on Michael Savage's nationally-syndicated radio program to express their concerns about the host's recent anti-Muslim tirade.”

Besides alleging copyright infringement, Savage also claimed that CAIR violated federal racketeering laws. In particular, he alleged that CAIR’s copyright infringement was part of a criminal conspiracy to silence those speaking out against Islam and to further the goals of foreign terrorist organizations. For good measure, Savage alleged that CAIR is the domestic branch of a foreign terror organization posing as a civil rights organization, and that CAIR had something or other to do with 9/11.

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