Michael Moore Copyright Infringer

Anyone familiar with Michael Yon’s excellent reporting and photojournalism from the front lines in Iraq knows that he diligently guards his copyright on his images.  Michael Moore, propagandist for the enemy, has seen fit to illegally usurp the copyright on one of Michael Yon’s most famous and stirring images, that of Major Mark Bieger cradling the young Iraqi girl Farah after she was mortally wounded by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber.

Many readers have complained that Michael Moore, in the conduct of his latest crusade against whatever he is against this month, has illegally used one of my photos on the banner of his website. Mr. Moore is not the first to have done so, and my readers can get pretty upset when it happens.

My lawyer has demanded that Mr. Moore take it down.

I usually freely grant use of my work to truthful, peaceful, non-commercial, non-political outlets. For instance, a church group wanted to use one of my photos for their congregation. I was honored and gave it to them freely. On another occasion, a peaceful, non-profit Islamic organization wanted to use the same photo that Michael Moore has infringed upon (Major Mark Bieger cradling a little girl named Farah), and I was honored to contribute to their peaceful cause. I’ve seen grandmothers use my work in technically illegal ways, but since they’re not a big company, they probably have no idea about copyright, and usually use the work in tasteful, appropriate ways, I just smile and say “Go ahead, Ma’am.”

But frequently, big companies and individuals who are knowledgeable of copyright laws filch my work and use it in ways that many readers consider partisan, highly political or incendiary. When this happens, I usually go after the infringer, and so do my readers.

Now here’s Michael Moore, the latest infringer, using my work for his own crude political purposes. I recall some years ago watching one of his movies in Paris, and thinking how sad it was that an American would make propaganda so flagrant that it seemed pornographic. It was sad but at the same time uplifting, because Mr. Moore was able to exercise his right to free speech, rights that should never be infringed upon.

Mr. Moore is influential, rich, and could likely intimidate most photographers. But I ask my readers to please leave him be. Attacking him likely will be counterproductive. I know how to fight, and though I would fight for Mr. Moore’s right to free expression, I will fight against him if he steals my work and uses it in an inflammatory fashion.

It’s got nothing to do with the fact that Michael Moore is anti-war (he’s not just against the Iraq War, but he was also against the war in Afghanistan). I respect Moore’s opposition to the Iraq War; I might even agree with him on some particulars. But I object to the tone of many of his arguments, especially the manner in which he uses my work to further his causes. As I said above, sometimes it seems pornographic. That’s a strong word, so I’ll explain.

Read the whole thing here.

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