I’ve been posting bits and pieces of this story in my journal, but since it’s officially a copyright issue, thought I’d share it with the larger LISNews crowd. The Bloomington Pantagraph is asking filmmaker Michael Moore for $1.00 in damages and an apology after a letter-to-the-editor they published was used in Fahrenheit 9/11.
In a letter drafted Thursday and sent to Moore and the movie’s Santa Monica, Calif.-based distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment, the newspaper admonished him for his “unauthorized … misleading” use of The Pantagraph in the film. He also was cited for copyright infringement.
The misleading part is that a letter to the editor with the headline “Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election” was altered to look like a news story and shown briefly in the film along with similar headlines. The puzzling thing, to me anyway, is the sloppy work done by Moore’s film crew. Not only was the letter reformatted and presented in a mock-up of the paper, but the date was different than the original.
I wish I knew more about documentary technique and copyright. Gut instinct tells me that this crosses the line.