Talk Radio Host Accuses Critic Of Copyright Infringement… And Racketeering?

from the for-a-bit-of-criticsm? dept

Radio talk show host Michael Savage apparently isn’t as open to accepting criticism as he is in dishing it out. He’s suing the Council on American-Islamic Relations for copyright infringement, because CAIR used clips from Savage’s show to respond to, and criticize, his statements. That’s a perfectly reasonable fair use of copyrighted content. It seems clear that this is merely an attempt to bully and silence a critic. To add even more weight to that claim, Savage isn’t just claiming copyright infringement, but racketeering. The reasoning behind the racketeering charge isn’t entirely clear (and from the EFF’s response about the problems with Savage’s filings, it sounds like the reasoning isn’t clear to even those who made the racketeering claim), but the idea that posting some radio clips and criticizing them could be seen as racketeering seems pretty ridiculous.

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Comments on “Talk Radio Host Accuses Critic Of Copyright Infringement… And Racketeering?”

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John says:

Defending Terrorists?

While I agree that this is a continuation of the misuse of IP law, I have read the lawsuit filed and it appears that the fine folks at CAIR, may not be quite so fine. Of course facts can mislead, but these people seem to be very well connected with ‘the wrong elements’. If any of what is filed is true, I sure hope this shines a brilliant light on the actions and associations of CAIR.

Prophet says:

I hope he wins.

Listen to his show and you would get a much better understanding of what he is trying to accomplish with this lawsuit. CAIR is much more devious and Radical than most people would like to come to believe and this is part of their strategy to de-legitimize him. CAIR has already tried to use things he has said to bully his sponsors into dropping his show because he talks about things that are not “sensitive” and might bring people to think differently about their true intent. He constantly points out the ways that they are using radical clerics who preach death to America to staff their upper echelon of administrations. His number one grip though is them trying to use clips and snippets of his show to stifle his free speech. I am not a fanatic of this show, he has said things even i think are outrageous, but as far as his right to say them i am all for it.

The Truth Abour CAIR and Terrorism

Khaled says:

It's amazing!

What does terrorism and radicalism have to do with this article? What Mike seems to be pointing out is that responding to criticism by claiming copyright infringement is simply wrong… Even if the ones criticizing have no case in their criticism.

And please, stifling his freedom of speech? Criticism of what someone says does not violate his freedom to say it… Although I would go so far as to say that SUING someone for criticizing you is far more clearly a violation of that person’s freedom of speech. Unless of course you believe CAIR does not deserve to be guaranteed freedom of speech, in which case this debate would take a whole different context.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's amazing!

“Unless of course you believe CAIR does not deserve to be guaranteed freedom of speech”

“It seems clear that this is merely an attempt to bully and silence a critic.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a $1.35 million lawsuit against the founder of a website that accuses the controversial lobby group of supporting terrorism.

“With this lawsuit, we are sending a clear message to all those who make malicious and defamatory statements against American Muslims or their institutions that they will be held accountable in a court of law,” said Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR’s director of legal affairs.

There is much more to this suit than just about fair use, Savage wants Discovery in this case to be brought tho the attention of the American people and how CAIR operates and funds different questionable groups. I listen to him regularly and highly doubt he cares about them using his clips. He is just using that as a basis for his suit. I doubt he even wants to get money from CAIR, i am led to believe he just wants the feds involved in RICO investigations, and who knows what will come of that.

John says:

Re: It's amazing!

Great Point, and right on target I for one believe. What terrorist in, or against this nation deserves protection from it, or should use its laws for their gain? Which is ultimately our destruction, Khaled, if you do live in America, you should want that same information in your hand, lest you be the victim of this group too.
I agree that IP laws are abused in this country, but in this instance, surely you can appreciate the information that this case will expose. Unless you too are closely aligned with their goals ?

Kevin says:

I don't care who CAIR is...

I don’t care if they’re terrorists or if they eat barbecued babies for breakfast. If Savage is criticizing them on his radio show, it’s absolutely fair use for them to respond to clips of those criticism with their own arguments, and there’s nothing wrong with using small snippets of his show to illustrate the things that he says about them. That’s what fair use is all about.

As far as CAIR trying to discredit Savage, I think that you’re wrong there too. If a person publicly makes statements that can then be used to discredit themselves or make themselves look stupid, that’s their own problem. If you don’t stick your foot in your mouth then you don’t have to worry about what your toejam tastes like. The moral of the story is that you don’t publicly make statements that make you look bad.

As far as CAIR trying to drive away Savage’s sponsorship, it’s about time that these tactics have come around to bite some conservative talk radio people in the ass. It is a long-standing tradition for people to pressure sponsors to stop supporting people who voice unpopular sentiments. Usually it’s the conservative wing of our society going after people like Howard Stern or Don Imus or other broadcasters of allegedly “inappropriate” content. Most times the broadcaster shrugs and moves on, but when it happens to the conservative talk show hosts they try to turn themselves into martyrs by claiming that people are trying to take away their freedom of speech. News flash: “freedom of speech” does not guarantee you a sponsored radio show from which to broadcast your opinion. While we’re at it, it only applies to government censorship too, not private companies deciding whose speech they want to fund.

If anyone here is restricting someone else’s speech here (and they’re not), it would be Savage. Savage gets to say what he wants on the radio. CAIR is actually spreading his speech to people who wouldn’t normally hear it, along with their criticism of his speech. Savage wants to take away their ability to do so. Whose actions are more restrictive on speech?

These conservative talk show hosts crack me up with their “holier than thou, I’m always right” attitude. They sit around taking potshots at anyone they can think of, telling people who to hate and why, and then when the criticism flows in the other direction they can’t handle it. What a crock.

Ned Allen says:

Re: Re: I don't care who CAIR is...

From preliminary information, it is likely that CAIR will lose on the RICO. Check your facts. Savage will win treble damages. The copyright issue may be more tenuous, I personally think Savage will win, but whatever the opinions each of us have here, the case certainly has merit to proceed to trial. Decisions will be made as a matter of law not subjective opinion.

If CAIR is determined to actually be a political organization hiding behind something different the case will bring that to light via discovery motions and testimony. If so, Savage will then financially own CAIR. It will be all over for them. I believe there is fire behind all the smoke. Savage had no choice other then to sue. He didn’t start the battle. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun-tzu. Dan Horowitz is a pretty smart guy, I put my money on Savage.

John says:

What if you're wrong Kevin ?

What if he really doesn’t care who uses the material for his show ? What if he really doesn’t get a penny from this case, and his show is ultimately removed from the airwaves due to lack of sponsorship? And by God, What if, out of allllll of this legal crap, comes the exposure of terrorist cells Inside the US ? Sponsored by known terrorist associates ? Are you kidding me ?I would hope that all of those sponsors would come crawling back to him on their knees begging his forgiveness. I believe no terrorist deserves a crumb of bread, much less the protection of this nations laws.

Paul` says:

Re: What if you're wrong Kevin ?

And what if they arn’t terrorists? What if there is nothing what so ever wrong with the way they operate and it is because they are associated with Islam, something way too many people know what too little about and for some reason seem scared of, and the uneducated unqualified masses labels them that?

You’re saying they should be treated as guilty until proven innocent? That is pretty much what your saying right? Destroying civil rights and liberties on the off chance we *might* just find one of those damn ol’ terry-wrests is just fine and dandy? Who cares if we persecute people for no reason just because they look different, we could stop the next 9/11! Danger is everywhere!

You sir, are what is wrong with the world today.

On the topic though, it is quite clear he is trying to hush up a critic by abusing IP laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone ought to be equal under the law. When you start saying things like, “we believe in the freedom to say what you wish, unless you’re not one of us,” then you start down a dangerous path. I believe terrorists should suffer just punishment under the law for the crimes they commit, but I also believe that while I do not agree with what they may say or why they may say it they have just as much right as anyone TO say it.

Ned Allen says:

Your mistakes

Savage is not protecting his speech, he is protecting all Americans’ speech. CAIR, plain and simple, is entitled to their protected viewpoint and opinions but not to usurp a 4 minute copyrighted segment out of sequence block consisting solely of his rant. Basically, he is NOT racist nor against Muslims in general, but Islamofascisim, which in the opinion of Savage and many others, myself included, is not compatible with the American way of life nor our constitution.

comboman says:

American Xenophobes Please Shut Up!

Using America’s over-arching copyright laws to suppress freedom of speech is WRONG. It doesn’t matter if the person whose speech is being suppressed is a islamofascist or a neo-nazi or a KKK or a communist or an environmental nut job or a pro-life nut job or a pro-choice nut job or any other kind of nut job. Freedom of speech must apply to EVERYONE or else it applies to NO ONE. You don’t have to agree with them and you are free to speak out against them, but when you suppress their freedom, it’s the first step towards someone else suppressing yours.

Old Guy says:

Re: American Xenophobes Please Shut Up!

Absolutely correct.
Freedom of Speech is a two-edged sword, if it isn’t, it ain’t free.
Even the crazy bastards who use our own freedoms against us get to say what they please. It also allows me to say that I think that if someone/anyone is proven to have ties to a terrorist organization, especially one whose aim is not freedom but the destruction of my country and the subjugation of others, we should save millions of tax dollars and just line up against a wall and put a bullet in their heads…Or maybe we should just tie the price of grain to the price of oil…Course we could just make the mideast glow in the dark and be done with it.

See now thats called exercising the right of rree speech…

Fuzi says:

Michael Savage is a WUS!

Savage has proven yet again he is nothing but a whining crybaby. Like others of his kind (Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly), they want to be able to say the most horrific slander imaginable about anyone else, but will whine and cry and throw a tantrum if anyone else dares question them.

I’m sick of these whining crybabies. They wrap themselves in the flag and accuse everyone else of being “anti-American”, yet it is they who are the biggest danger to the US Constitution and everything it has stood for for over 200 years.

Savage, go sit in the corner and shut up, you puerile infant.

John says:

Never said they were guilty Paul

I specifically said, I hope this sheds light on their operations, again read the suit as filed, and you will see that investigations have been performed on their members PROVING alliance with terrorists, and terrorist organizations. As I also stated, the facts can be misleading, I’m hoping this suit has Nothing to do with copyright, and forces the exposure of their operations. I find it disturbing that this organization operates in the fashion outlined. I’m fully aware that it is one side in a case, but i stated, I hope it brings to light what these people are doing, with a tax exempt status, within the walls of a country they seem to hate. Islam is peaceful, terrorism is not. Perhaps one day you will entertain the fact that some terrorists happen to be Islamic, among other religions, and wish to have their efforts exposed.

Jazz says:

Re: If the problem is CAIR's politics then

address that issue. Savage’s law suit is a misuse of American law and abuses rights and protections for everyone.

Using copyright and racketeering law when they attempt to defend themselves from his claims is indefensible. Freedom of speech is designed to create a free marketplace of ideas where the truth wins out. If Savage really has a case then he shouldn’t be afraid of an open debate. That he is trying to suppress debate only undermines his credibility.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Savage, CAIR and free speech

It should be clear to all that Savage’s primary goal is money, that his path to that goal is via ratings, and the reason that’s his path is that “ratings” == “commercial support”. Fairness, accuracy, free speech, reason, respect, common decency have nothing to do with it — none of those things put money in his pocket. This posturing over copyright is simply more of the same.

As to CAIR, let me point out that sufficiently diligent investigation could no doubt uncover “links” between everyone posting in this thread and The Bad Guys. As in “once lived across the street from someone who sold a car that later was purchased by Timothy McVeigh” or “belonged to the same Saturday softball team as the person who taught the sophomore economics class that covered a theory later adopted by the Unabomber” or similarly tenuous connections. None of these have any real value, of course, but in a climate of fear-mongering it’s often presumed that they do. If there is any real evidence demonstrating organizational involvement in real crimes, then the path is clear: produce that evidence, seek an indictment, and prepare to try the case in open court.
(That’s how we do things here.) And note that rumors, innuendo, propaganda, hearsay, suspicion, etc. are generally not considered admissible evidence — for very good reason.

And as to free speech, as others have pointed out, that includes hateful speech, stupid speech, bigoted speech, incoherent speech, and everything else. That’s the deal.
Anyone who can’t handle that really needs to spend some quality time reading Thomas Paine — they have failed to grasp the full meaning of the First Amendment. And yes, sometimes it’s hard, especially when faced with completely vicious assholes like the godhatesfags types. But that’s the deal. If you don’t like the deal, then seek the repeal/modification of the First Amendment. That’s also how we do things here — you know, the rule of law and all that.

Ned Allen says:

Re: Savage, CAIR and free speech


You would be so right if you were not so utterly wrong. The facts, determined not by innuendo coming from you or I, but by the USA government in a court of law, speak for themselves.

As to fear mongering, CAIR has been revealed.

One simply has to read at

The totality of everything written has caused a precipitous drop in association with CAIR and with an awakening for all of us, Muslims included, as to the threat imposed on the USA.

That they scrambled like crazy to avoid service speaks volumes.

My opinion.

Azeem says:

History on how this happened

I listen to Savage each day on my drive home, only to make it clear for me that this world IS full of crazies and Thankfully I am not one of them.

Savage is a performer, unfortunately his performance included slandering not only islamofacists but CAIR an organization.
CAIR chose to act upon the allegations buy pursuing advertisers to pull away sponsor ship based on hate-speech.
This got Savage angry as CAIR went for the money and he sued them, for which CAIR counter-Sued.

Free Speech Supporter says:

Mike Masnick is a fool to take the side of the ENE

Maybe the great Mike Masnick could inform us all regarding CAIR’s legal tactics and associations in their countless lawsuits intended to stifle speech.

He is a useful idiot for the political wing of the terroristic jihad.

Thank you for endangering us all by strengthening those who use women with down-syndrome to blow up shoppers in a market. You must be very proud.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Mike Masnick is a fool to take the side of the

Maybe the great Mike Masnick could inform us all regarding CAIR’s legal tactics and associations in their countless lawsuits intended to stifle speech.

That’s not what this is about. This is about Savage’s attempt to stifle free speech using copyright. If CAIR is doing the same thing, then that’s a different story. I have no problem pointing out anyone misusing IP laws for such things.

He is a useful idiot for the political wing of the terroristic jihad.

Wow. I said nothing about anything other than the misuse of IP law — which this certainly appears to be, and suddenly I’m a tool of the terroristic jihad? That’s a might big brush you’re painting with.

I love how anyone who points out that this shouldn’t be a copyright issue is suddenly siding with the terrorists. Nice bit of debate strategy. You don’t, however, explain how this is a legitimate copyright issue. It may very well be that CAIR is an awful, horrible group. I don’t know. But that’s a different issue than the one we’re discussing. I recognize you might not like nuance, but it doesn’t make you look particularly intelligent if you can’t separate out the two issues.

Free Speech Supporter says:

Re: Re: Mike Masnick is a fool to take the side of


According to the lawsuit chapters:
The segment misappropriated was in excess of four minutes. As set forth in more detail herein, the misappropriated segment was used by CAIR for fund- raising purposes and the segment was used in a manner designed to cause harm to the value of the copyright material in the long and short term. This was the desired result and it was part of a greater plan and scheme to destroy public voices that express opposition to the criminal political agenda of CAIR as set forth more fully in the Second Cause of Action. (The allegations of the Second Cause of Action are incorporated herein by this reference.)


CAIR has misappropriated copyright protected material from Michael Savage and made this material available on its website. This is actionable regardless even if CAIR had a genuine charitable purpose in using Michael Savage’s material. However, even genuine charities must gain the permission of a copyright holder before using the copyrighted work for fund raising or other purposes.

The courts will decide upon the merits, but it’s not like there are many freedom fighters in today’s society that have standing to fight this battle. Savage is a true American hero on this front and I’m saddened that you can’t understand how the limitations of a free society provide haven for those who neither respect nor even understand freedom.

When’s the last time you fought for freedom in a way that would put you at risk?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike Masnick is a fool to take the sid

If you’re simply going to quote from one party’s filing, why not quote from the others as well? The EFF does a pretty damning job of showing how Savage’s filing doesn’t actually show any copyright infringement and makes claims not consistent with the law.

“The courts will decide upon the merits, but it’s not like there are many freedom fighters in today’s society that have standing to fight this battle.”

Ok. Sorry, but when you reach the point of claiming that a copyright infringement lawsuit is about “freedom fighters” “putting themselves at risk” you’ve officially gone over the edge.

If the group is supporting terrorist activities report them to the FBI. Don’t sue them for copyright infringement. If the group has defamed you, sue them for defamation. The use of copyright here seems clearly designed to stifle free speech of a critic — no matter whether that critic is right or wrong. If CAIR is stifling Savage’s free speech, then he should go after them for that — but not using copyright law. And, as the EFF notes, there’s little evidence that CAIR is doing anything to stifle Savage’s ability to speak freely. Getting sponsors to give up their sponsorship is hardly stifling free speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Choose your partners wisely

No, I’ll take door number 3. Which is saying CAIR is an extremist group and need to be exposed, but the route Savage is using is not the correct course of action. Using Copyright law in this manner is abusing the legal system. CAIR needs to be exposed, but Savage should not take this route.

There are more than two “sides” here.

The point of this article is to point out possible copyright law abuse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Choose your partners wisely

If CAIR really is this whacko terrorist cell/organization (I don’t know, I really haven’t looked into the matter) then why doesn’t Savage or “John” or “Ned Allen” get the FBI or DHS involved??

I’m quite certain they’re are a few not-gun-shy agents looking for a high-profile promotion-worthy case.

Yet for all the rhetoric, this “terrorist group” continues to exist? Protected by laws even?

Rich Kulawiec says:

Savage, CAIR and free speech

Merely naming someone an “unindicted co-conspirator” means nothing — other than prosecutors did not feel they had enough evidence to seek and achieve an indictment. This either means (a) no such evidence exists (b) the evidence exists but isn’t in the hands of prosecutors or (c) the evidence exists and is in the hands of prosecutors but they’ve bungled it. Given the high profile of such cases, the qualifications of the people working on them, and the collaborative approach, (c) seems unlikely. Given the unfettered use of wiretaps, national security letters, informants, interrogations, etc., (b) also seems unlikely. Which leaves (a).

Because given the current political climate, there is no way prosecutors would have passed on the indictment if they had even a whiff of the evidence needed to seek one.
So the bottom line is: not convicted, not even tried, not even indicted.

And for the purposes of this discussion, it doesn’t matter anyway: the First Amendment doesn’t make exceptions for those convicted…or tried…or indicted.

Rich Kulawiec says:


He’s nothing of the kind.
He’s a racist, sexist, xenophobic, ignorant bullying coward of the first order — a textbook example of the very worst qualities to be found anywhere in our nation. There’s nothing in the least bit “heroic” about the vile filth that he excretes onto the airwaves as he panders, exploits and rants.

It’s very sad that there are enough people of such limited intellect and deficient education that he still has an audience. But that’s one of the side effects of the First Amendment, and if we must temporarily endure it, then we will — just as we endured other worthless demagogues and later consigned them to the dustbin of history. Our Constitutional principles aren’t worth much if we don’t preserve them for all — even vermin like Savage.

Fugazi says:

Savage is a terrorist

CAIR is a front group for islamic extremism in the USA no doubt about it, but Weiner Savage is the last person who should be allowed to take them down because he is such a pitiful wretch. Weiner Savage only believes in free speech for himself and his cronies and not for anyone he disagrees with. Deep down inside he is a liberal fascist not a conservative flag waver like he postures 5 days a week, God bless the day he departs the public arena. The fact he is so sue happy indicates what a candy ass liberal weiner savage really is…

Truthseeker says:

I hope he wins.

I have listened to his show and while I find him halerious, Michael Savage or anyone else has no “RIGHT” to a radio show or sponsors. Like most on the right he is extremely contradictory from one show to the next and CAIR (regardless of thier associations) is perfectly justified in pointing out the frequent and glaring inconsistancies in his statements. Just as Michael Savage has the right to call Obama an “islamo-facist”, CAIR has the right to call Michael Savage a liar. Unlike Savage though, CAIR can actually prove thier case simply by using his own words. Its time for Savage to “man up” and take some of what he has been dishing out for so many years.

Truthseeker says:

Savage is a crybaby

Savage, like most on the right, is just another whiney cry baby. He makes a living maligning and attacking the personal character of others (with out any actual proof aside from much innuendo and simply “made up” or terribly distorted theories) and when he gets a dose of his own medicine, he cries like a baby to the courts begging for protection . . . pretty pathetic what the right has been reduced too by the BUSHROVE administration.
Most people realize that his show is satire (a 60+ year old never married man who has lived in San Francisco his entire adult life – went to Berkeley worked as a flower arranger and “crystal power” new age healer is suddenly the angry prophet for the right LOL . . . come on sheeple?). As satire I love Savage, he can be clever and hilarious, but I think he is starting to take his own act a little too literally. I understand that he is essentially a “shock jock” and as such this sort of thing is his bread and butter, but he’s got nothing here. Regardless of who CAIR is or who they are connected too, it is perfectly just and legal for them to use his own words to expose him as a liar. There is really no question about it?

Cindy (user link) says:


Savage is brilliant and all you anti american communist’s are fools and empty headed idots with the result of sitting with your mouth wide open listening and gurgitating all the proganda from these evil marists and pro muslins dictators by so called professors who hate America because of the greatest sucess story in all history with our Capitalist Repubic government. NOT A DEMOCRACY YOU FOOLS. You brought us down with the election of Obama but we art not OUT. WE HAVE JUST BEGAN TO FIGHT TO SAVE OUR FREEDOMS.

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