Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Court Accepts Fair Use Defense In Copyright Claim By Prominent Christian Speaker

In Caner v. Autry, (WD VA, May 14, 2014), a Virginia federal district court dismissed copyright infringement claims brought by Ergum Caner, the former dean of Liberty Theological Seminary and former vice president of academic affairs at Arlington Baptist College. Caner was raised in Ohio. His father was a devout Muslim. During high school he became a born-again Christian.  Caner spoke widely to military and church groups on how Muslims in the Middle East would view U.S. Marines from the perspective of jihad.  He sued Jonathan Autry, formerly a student at Liberty University, over blog posts that linked to YouTube videos featuring Caner. The posts attempted to expose as untrue Caner's claims that he was raised as as Muslim in Turkey-- a claim he made in numerous speeches before church and military groups.  The court accepted defendant's fair use defense, saying:
Plaintiff has filed this suit to suppress legitimate criticism of alleged contradictions in the narrative that supported his rise to prominence. The purpose and character of Defendant’s use weigh strongly in favor of finding fair use.
Correction [thanks to Commenter]: Caner is now  President of Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. The post has also been corrected to spell Caner's name correctly.