A federal judge in San Francisco on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage against a Muslim civil rights group.
Savage claimed the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations violated his copyright when it posted on its Web site a four-minute excerpt of anti-Islamic comments by Savage. The council accompanied the excerpt with a critique of Savage’s words.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said the posting of the audio clip was protected by the First Amendment free-speech doctrine of fair use because it was used for purposes of criticism and commentary.
Illston wrote that the group, known as CAIR, “used the audio excerpts to comment on and rebut derogatory statements regarding their organization and their religious affiliations.”
Savage is host of The Savage Nation, a nationally syndicated show based in San Francisco.
The clip from his Oct. 29, 2007, show included comments that “They need deportation. … You can take (CAIR) and throw them out of my country” and that Muslims were “screaming for the blood of Christians or Jews or anyone they hate.”
Illston dismissed the copyright infringement claim and said Savage could not try to refile it.
She also dismissed a second claim in which Savage accused the group of racketeering in support of terrorism. But she gave Savage until Aug. 15 to try to amend that claim by alleging specific financial harm to his business.
Council spokesperson Ahmed Rehab said, “Savage’s suit was laughable from the start and the accusations it made against CAIR utterly baseless.”
Rehab said, “We will continue to stand up to Savage’s bigotry and will not be bogged down by his knack for retaliatory fluff lawsuits.”
Savage’s lawyer, Daniel Horowitz, said, “We are prepared to file a very detailed and well-documented new complaint” on the racketeering claim.
“It is a very carefully thought-out decision and I respect the court’s ruling even if it is not what I wished for,” Horowitz said of the ruling.
Savage has recently come under fire from parents of autistic children for alleging on his July 16 show that 99 percent of autism cases are actually cases of misbehaving children whose parents don’t discipline them.
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