Michael Savage has one of the most popular shows on the radio. He doesn't hesitate to speak his mind, no matter how controversial his views. He should be applauded for that. Many find those views highly offensive, and level fierce criticism at him. They should be applauded for that. That is the dialogue of free speech. The right to speak and the right to criticize speech you don't like are equally important.
You'd think that Savage of all people, who depends on free speech to do what he does for a living, would understand that. Yet when the Council on American-Islamic Relations ("CAIR") put up a web page last year documenting overtly hostile remarks Savage made about Muslims on his show and urging advertisers to boycott Savage's show, Savage tried to shut down CAIR's criticism of him. He sued CAIR, claiming the snippets of Savage's show CAIR used to document Savage's statements and support CAIR's criticism of him infringed his copyrights in his show. If fair use protects anything, it protects the right to use portions of a copyrighted work to criticize it, so Savage lost his case quickly and decisively.
But the attack goes on. Brave New Films created a similar video and posted it to YouTube. That video likewise documents Savage's comments and urges viewers to do something about them. Brave New Films also created a website, www.nosavage.org to support its efforts to speak out against Savage and the comments he made. Late last month, Savage's nationwide syndicator, Original Talk Radio Network, complained to YouTube about BNF's video. In response, YouTube removed it pursuant to the DMCA.
The Fair Use Project, along with co-counsel Bingham McCutchen, have now sued OTRN and Savage to recover damages for the misrepresentations made in connection with the wrongful removal of the video from YouTube, and declaratory and injunctive relief to vindicate BNF's right to say what it said about Savage in the video, and prevent the suppression of the video in the future.
Here is the complaint we filed.
Watch BNF's video here.
And watch this page for more information as the case develops.