Fox News Channel is doing more than taking exception to its footage being used in an ad from the campaign of Democratic senatorial candidate Robin Carnahan in her match-up with Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO). It’s suing her for using it in a “smear campaign.”
Charging the Carnahan campaign with violating the Copyright Act, the suit begins, “In a smear ad against political rival Roy Blunt, Defendant Robin Carnahan for Senate, Inc. usurped proprietary footage from the Fox News Network to made it appear – falsely – that FNC and Christopher Wallace, one of the nation’s most respected political journalists, are endorsing Robin Carnahan’s campaign for United States Senate. In so doing, Defendant infringed FNC’s valuable and proprietary creative expression and used Wallace’s image and persona for monetary gain without his permission.”
FNC also is suing “…for invasion of privacy by misappropriation of likeness in violation of Missouri’s common law; and for invasion of the right of publicity by misappropriation of identity or persona in violation of Missouri’s common law.”
Law firm Lathrop and Gage LLP is handling the case, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division.
FNC introduces Wallace to the Court as a journalist who “…has won every major broadcast news award for his reporting, including three Emmy Awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton, and the Peabody Award.”
It says a 1/15/06 Wallace interview of Blunt was the misappropriated footage. It says distinctive features supplied by both Wallace and FNC make it their own unique property.
Fox says that Wallace’s stellar reputation is sullied. “The Carnahan Ad is designed to make it appear as if Wallace – a trusted journalist – is instead speaking as a campaign operative. The defendant’s conduct in stealing only certain footage from the FNS Interview is also false and misleading: Wallace’s tough questions were included, but Blunt’s answers and explanations were not.”
FNC says that the Carnahan campaign included the stand-by-your-ad statement in the commercial, and aired it on TV and on its website. The website has pulled the ad. At its former location is the statement, “The interview with Roy Blunt that Fox News doesn’t want you to see has been temporarily removed. Check back soon.”