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Savage Declares “Victory” over CAIR

“Michael Savage Beats CAIR”, says Newsmax; “Michael Savage Wins Major Victory Over CAIR”, crows the American Chronicle. Both headlines spin news reported in WorldNetDaily that despite the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ success in fending off a lawsuit brought by Michael Savage over copyright and alleged rackeetering, Savage would not have to pay CAIR’s legal fees. Says Savage himself:

This is a huge victory for me, personally, but also for the rest of America who is afraid of this lawsuit-happy group of intimidators…CAIR tried to tell [Judge Susan Illston] in their claim that she ‘should get’ me, because they were all liberals…You have to read their sloppy claim to believe it. Now, people will not be afraid to file suits if they have a legitimate claim against CAIR or any other Soros-funded group…

As I blogged previously, CAIR had used clips of Savage’s radio rants against Muslims to urge an advertiser boycott (Savage’s abuse was so crude he made Walid Shoebat look classy), and Savage claimed copyright infringement. That had to fail under fair-usage provisions – as was demonstrated years ago in a case concerning Jerry Falwell’s use of materials copyrighted to Larry Flynt. Realising this, Savage opportunistically added a “racketeering” claim to his lawsuit, which allowed him to grandstand as someone opposing terrorist-supporters. Savage and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah appealed to supporters to send in cash for what was confusingly called (given that Savage was the plaintiff) a “legal defense fund”. Despite promises to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court, Savage dropped the case in August after Illston found against him – even though she gave Savage “leave to amend” the racketeering claim.

So why did Illston decline to award CAIR costs? Savage hints it is because Illston (whom he previously had called “a minion of the Bill Clinton crowd”) came to understand the dubious nature of CAIR, and this is why he can now claim “victory”. However, a look at the ruling – which is posted on Savage’s site – shows that Illston was simply applying precendent:

This Court has discretion under the Copyright Act to allow recovery of costs and attorneys’ fees by or against any party.

…While the Court agreed with defendants’ fair use argument, there were features of the decision which required analysis.

Having considered the standards set out by the case law, and considering the “pivotal” criterion of the purposes of the Copyright Act, this Court finds in its discretion that attorneys’ fees are not warranted in this case.

As she explains, she took her lead from the judgement in Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, which is available here. Apparently this means that CAIR was unable to show that the lawsuit was actually frivolous or in bad faith, but no more than that. It’s not “a huge victory” for America, nor does it break any new ground for anyone else who wants to sue CAIR. But hopefully it’ll be enough to console all those who contributed to Savage’s fund to take the case to the Supreme Court. If there’s any of that cash left over from Daniel Horowitz’s fees, Savage can perhaps use it to fight another case, in which he is the defendant. Kron 4 reports:

Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage has been sued in  federal court in San Francisco by a liberal film group for making an  allegedly baseless demand that YouTube Inc. take down one of its videos.

The video by Brave New Films was entitled “Savage Hates Muslims”  and criticized an Oct. 29, 2007, broadcast in which Savage made anti-Islamic  comments.

The video, posted on YouTube by the film group in January, was one  minute and 23 seconds long and contained a one-minute excerpt of Savage’s  comments during the two-hour show.

The excerpt included Savage’s comments that Muslims should “take  (their) religion and shove it up (their) behind” and should be deported,  according to the lawsuit filed by Brave New Films in U.S. District Court last  month.

…The lawsuit seeks financial compensation for the alleged harm to  Brave New Films’ free speech rights as well as an injunction barring Savage  and the network from any further legal action related to the vide.

One Response

  1. […] I’ve blogged on some of this “partnership” before – when Savage was threatening to sue CAIR to stop it from using clips from his radio show for critical purposes, Farah encouraged his readers to donate cash for the obviously doomed legal effort. Savage eventually backed down and declared “victory”. […]

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