Illinois Paper Hits Michael Moore for Copyright Infringement

By: E&P Staff

The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington, Ill., has sent a letter to Michael Moore, drafted by its lawyer, citing him for copyright infringement, admonishing him for his “unauthorized … misleading” use of the paper in his film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and asking for an apology.

It is also seeking compensatory damages of exactly one dollar.

“While we are highly flattered to be included in the movie,” said the newspaper’s President and Publisher Henry Bird, “we are a bit disturbed that our pages were misrepresented.”

Early in the movie, according to the paper, a large headline appears in the film, purporting to be from a Dec. 19, 2001, edition of the paper, and reading “Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election.” The paper contends that the headline actually appeared on Dec. 5, 2001, in much smaller type, and above a letter to the editor, hardly a factual news story or editorial.

The letter to Moore from the paper calls this a “misrepresentation of facts.” The newspaper said it had been unsuccessful in attempts to reach Moore through his film company, Lion’s Gate, by phone and e-mail.

“In an instance that The Pantagraph prints material in which there is a mistake, it is corrected,” the letter to Moore reads. “It is our hope that you would adhere to the same high ethical standard.”

Moore could not be reached for comment.

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