-By Warner Todd Huston
Filmmaker Michael Moore, famed for his propagandistic left-slanted portrayals of America in such films as Roger and Me, Bowling for Columbine, and Sicko, is under fire for lifting the work of a writer from the Knoxville News Sentinel and reposting it on his own site in total despite that copyright laws disallow such a practice.
On his site Random Mumblings the News Director of Innovation for the Knoxville News Sentinel, Jack Lail, reported that Michael Moore lifted an entire story and its accompanying video production from his newspaper’s website and reposted it all on MichaelMoore.com. Not only did he lift the whole story (not just excerpts, but the whole thing) and take the video to repost it on his own site, Michael Moore did not add any new content and even re-processed the News Sentinel’s video to remove their logo from the screen.
The article’s original author, the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Frank Munger, alerted Lail to the thievery prompting Lail to contact Moore demanding it all be removed. For several days Lail’s demand was ignored as Moore has been known to thumb his nose at copyright laws and intellectual property rights. Finally, though, by July 12 the Moore website removed the offending pages. (For a screen shot of Moore’s website, see the post at Random Mumblings.)
Michael Moore is well known for standing against copyright laws and intellectual property rights. In 2007, for instance, Moore wrote for Monthly Review, “I don’t agree with copyright laws.” He went on to say that he didn’t care if people downloaded his movies for free. He said that he thought all “information” should be shared without regard to copyright. “You share things with people. I think information, and art, and ideas should be shared,” he said.
As a result, Moore apparently feels rather free to take anything he wants from other artists, writers, and photographers and use them for his own purposes. In 2009, independent Iraq war correspondent Michael Yon threatened to sue Moore for lifting one of Yon’s photos for a tirade against the Bush administration that Moore posted on his site.
It is interesting that a man that has made millions from selling his films seems to see nothing wrong with a wholesale lifting of other artist’s work for his own use without paying them and even trying to remove information that would inform the public as to who originally created the works.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDailyReview.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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