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Michael Moore Hit With Copyright Lawsuit Over ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

2018 documentary looked at the 2016 presidential election

Filmmaker Michael Moore is being sued by a fellow Flint, Michigan businessman who says Moore used a video he owned as part of the 2018 documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9.”

In the lawsuit, Darick Clemons says that he shot cell phone video of then-President Barack Obama visiting Flint in 2016. Clemons says he uploaded that video to YouTube and subsequently copyrighted the video earlier this year.

According to Clemons, Moore used that video in “Fahrenheit 11/9” without permission.

“Plaintiff’s on-the-ground footage gave Defendants a unique, boots-on-the-ground perspective on the presidential visit,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff’s choice of words, his race, and his anticipation of the event provided dramatic value for the story Mr. Moore told in the film. Defendants could not have obtained that perspective from any other source, and it certainly contributed to any success the film had.”

The film made $6.7 million in sales and box office, the lawsuit notes, and continues to earn money from DVD, Blu-ray, streaming and rental sales.

Clemons is seeking unspecified damages. A representative for Michael Moore did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

In his review for TheWrap, Steve Pond called out the section of the film that took place in Flint, writing, “The Flint section initially feels like a lengthy digression, then a movie of its own that Moore could have made. Throw in segments on the plight of teachers and working-class families in West Virginia, the Democratic establishment’s timidity and pro-Hillary Clinton bias, the shooting in Parkland, the electoral college, voter apathy and a few other topics, and the film named for the day of Donald Trump’s election suddenly doesn’t seem very much about Trump at all.”

The lawsuit was first reported by the Detroit News.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.