Michael Yon, the famed independent war correspondent whose Internet dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan have earned him the title of the “Ernie Pyle of our time” may take documentary film maker Michael Moore to court over copyright infringement.
Michael Moore lifted a photo of an American soldier carrying a blood soaked Iraqi child and posted it on his own website, MichealMoore.Com, as part of a rant against President George W. Bush. The suggestion was made in the Michael Moore’s rant that somehow American soldiers had been responsible for the Iraqi child’s plight. In fact the little girl, who died soon after the photo was taken, was hit by shrapnel from a terrorist car bomb.
Michael Yon had repeatedly attempted to contact Michael Moore for an explanation for Moore’s misuse of Yon’s photo, but so far to no avail. Fed up, Michael Yon had instructed his lawyer to prepare a law suit. “I’ve never sued anyone in my life,” Michael Yon said. “It looks like Mr. Moore might be the first.” As of this writing Michael Yon’s lawyer and Michael Moore’s lawyer are playing phone tag.
This is not the first time that Michael Moore has run afoul of people who believe that he has misused their intellectual property. The famous writer Ray Bradbury has expressed discontent over Michael Moore’s use of the title “Fahrenheit 9/11”, a documentary rant against George W. Bush and the War on Terror, which is very similar to the title of Ray Bradbury’s iconic novel against censorship “Fahrenheit 451.”
Michael Moore has also been criticized for his somewhat unique view of reality as depicted in his documentaries, which beside Fahrenheit 9/11 include Bowling for Columbine, a polemic against gun ownership, and Sicko, an advocacy for government run health care. Commentators have noted Michael Moore’s bending of reality to fit the story line of his documentaries and his politics. The mischaracterization of the Michael Yon photo is just one of many.
Michael Yon, a former Green Beret, is famous as an independent journalist who has embedded himself with American and allied soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His dispatches have been celebrated for bringing the unvarnished and unbiased truth about the War on Terror. Michael Yon lives on the sale of his books and on donations. Bruce Willis has bought the rights to one of Micheal Yon’s books and hopes to bring a version of it to the big screen.
Sources: Moore Misuses War Picture, New York Post, January 15th, 2009
Michael Yon Online Magazine