KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – Fox News Network claims efforts by Robin Carnahan’s campaign to speed up the network’s copyright infringement lawsuit to prevent a “chilling effect” on political speech “borders on deceitful.” Fox News and anchor Chris Wallace sued Carnahan’s campaign over an ad attacking her opponent, Republican incumbent Roy Blunt, in a heated race for U.S. Senate.
The ad shows portions of a 2006 interview Wallace did with Blunt.
Fox claims the commercial incorrectly leaves the impression that Wallace endorses Carnahan. It wants the ad pulled, claiming the interview footage infringes on its copyrights.
Carnahan’s campaign filed a motion to expedite the lawsuit, claiming the allegations could have a “chilling effect” on disseminating political information. Carnahan, a Democrat, has stated on her website that she will not back down and has tried to turn the lawsuit into a fundraising opportunity.
Fox argued that the Carnahan campaign’s attempt to speed up the lawsuit “borders on deceitful,” because she is still running the ad.
“Defendant boasts — on its own website — that the Carnahan Ad is still being displayed on television and on the Internet,” Fox claims in an opposing motion. “Thus, it is clear that Defendant has not been deterred – let alone impaired – by the consequences of its tortious acts. But even if Defendant had shown consideration for FNC’s and Wallace’s intellectual property and privacy rights, and had actually removed the offending ad (which it clearly has no intention to do), its after-the-fact compliance with federal copyright law and Missouri common law would not have impaired Carnahan’s ability to communicate with voters for this simple reason that nothing in this action seeks to prevent Carnahan from reporting the facts of the FNS Interview,” Fox argued (emphasis and parentheses in original).
“All that Plaintiffs seek is to stop Defendant from infringing FNC’s intellectual property rights and from misappropriating Wallace’s likeness and persona,” the network and Wallace claim.
“Thus, the only thing preventing Defendant from communicating the facts of the FNS Interview to Missouri voters is its own laziness and resulting refusal to create its own intellectual property.”