2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Caner Files Lawsuit in Federal Court Against Bloggers Over the Marine Training Video, Which Caner Calls "Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Islam"

We now know the official title of Ergun Caner's Marine Training video:  "Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Islam". Apparently number 1 on the list: ex-Muslims-turned-preachers will sue your pants off if you dare to expose their lies on the Internet.

On Tuesday June 18th, 2013, Ergun Caner and his lawyer David C. Gibbs III filed a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against bloggers Jason Smathers and Jonathan Autry. Smathers and Autry both posted 2005 training videos that Smathers obtained in 2010 from the U.S. government under the Freedom of Information Act - videos of Ergun Caner training Marines on the dangers of Islam in which Caner told fib after fib to our troops.

Part of the complaint filed Tuesday by Caner reads:
"This video [Caner speaking to the Marines] is solely the recorded and live footage of Dr. Caner delivering a presentation as a part of a series that Dr. Caner entitled 'Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Islam'. Upon an invitation from the United States Marine Corp, Dr. Caner delivered this presentation as  a part of a training series on the religion of Islam and was compensated as an independent contractor".
So we now move to the next stage of the Ergun Caner scandal. This move by Caner is nothing short of bizarre. He is putting his entire career on the line and the odds are not good. Let's face it, Caner has made his way back from the embarrassing revelations of 2010 that led to him leaving Liberty University. Caner now has a job that he tells everyone that he loves - working and training young people at Arlington Baptist College - and by his own admission he now has a full 2014 speaking schedule including summer camps with numerous youth groups. His debacle is behind him, and he has recovered - in large part because most people in the churches where he speaks do not know about what he did from 2001 to 2010 during what I call his "decade of deceit".

But now, 3 years later, Caner decides to exert what he thinks are his copyright privileges of a video tape containing multiple lies to our troops as they prepared to go to war. If Smathers and Autry decide to fight - this is only going to draw more media attention to Caner and his deceitful talks, and more people will find out what he has done. It won't be good for his business.

I predict this will not end well for Ergun Caner. It really is very sad. As I wrote back in my 2010 article "A Coherent Defense of Ergun Caner", my hope was that Caner would do the right thing, come clean, apologize, make restitution and move on with his ministry. But as I found in my battles in 2008 to 2010 - when you're dealing with professional religious men and their minions who are more interested in protecting their turf and their revenue and their status in a religious heirarchy than they are advancing the faith they profess, they will make wrong decision after wrong decision after wrong decision.

And this lawsuit is just the latest - and largest - wrong decision in the decade long series of bad decisions by Ergun Caner.

A few observations and questions now that I've read the Caner and Gibbs complaint:

- Even if the court finds that Caner does own the copyright to this video and not the U.S. government, the question remains: what possible commercial value would there be to a training video full of lies and deceit? Certainly Caner can't claim that he was ever going to benefit financially from this video, and the Internet distribution by Smathers and Autry thwarted this benefit. Surely the defense would be during discovery for Smathers and Autry to show the video was so packed full of deception that it had no commercial value at all, and therefore their Internet postings could not possibly impact the commercial value of Caner's work. Furthermore, the timing of the release of the videos, and the context of the blog articles in which they appeared shows the videos were posted for a nonprofit, educational purpose. Seems like an easy case to make that their use of Caner's work falls under the "fair use" provisions of copyright law. But that is just my untrained legal view.

- Caner now admits in his filing that he "was invited" by the United States Marines to speak. I thought that maybe Caner spoke pro bono, maybe the "training" was just some informal talks he did as a courtesy to the officer that introduced him in the officers' club videos. Nope, apparently the Marines sought Caner out because they believed him to be someone credible based on their belief that he was raised in Turkey as an enemy of America, as both Caner and the officer that introduced him told the audience.

- Caner admits in his filing that he was compensated for these videos as an independent contractor. Now we know for sure there was a financial payment made to him for this training. As a U.S. taxpayer, I'm outraged. Our tax dollars paid Caner to come and speak to our troops preparing for battle based on a false pretense that he was born in Turkey, trained as a terrorist in the protocols of jihad, and raised to be an enemy of America - all which are not true. I want to know why the U.S. government has not taken legal action against Caner for the potential harm he caused our troops by what in my opinion was a fraud perpetrated against my government. I would also like to know who was responsible for not vetting Caner fully before hiring him to speak to our troops.

Lastly, let me say this: there is a better than 50/50 chance that this action by Caner will greatly escalate the media attention given this embarrassing saga. Caner professes to have devoted his life to the cause of Christ, but his actions are only going to bring shame and embarrassment to the cause of Christ and evangelical Christians everywhere - and rightly so. And Caner won't be the only one to blame: it will be those in his circles who refused to hold him accountable, and those who continued to pay him to speak at their churches and youth functions.

I'll conclude by saying that while Caner might be able to get rid of most of the embarrassing video and audio put up by bloggers, Caner surely won't be able to get rid of the video below. It is a 2011 news report by Brett Shipp of WFAA in Dallas that documents not only the Marine training lies but the entire Ergun Caner "mystique and legend" as Shipp calls it. And more media scrutiny is sure to come as a result of this lawsuit, and the ensuing legal discovery process.

And bloggers like myself will be here to write about it.


Anonymous said...

I believe that if you use someones original work for commercial gain, then the artist has the right to collect what is due. The interesting thing is that the artist, or in this case, speaker can determine what the value of the work is and if you choose to use it, then you bought it. This will be interesting. Those bloggers are picking a fight on Caner's turf and I expect that Caner knows quite a bit about copyrighted work.

Message to bloggers... Don't rely on religious figures to turn the other cheek.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I agree it is on Caner's turf, and he has the resources to wage the fight. But he is picking the fight.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I misread your article. However, if someone is asked to stop, and then formally asked to stop, and that someone persists, then the someone picked the fight. I doubt very much that Ergun wanted the fight.

I asked my neighbor to adjust his sprinkler that was overlapping my yard. The overwatering was causing fungus growth. Had he not stopped watering, I would have been forced to take stronger measures with my association. He adjusted the infringing sprinkler within a reasonable time and $10 worth of fungicide later, all is well. He is a great neighbor by the way.

Of course there is an answer to everything and I am sure that the blogger is always right. ;>

Debbie Kaufman said...

I would love for the courts to watch this video. All it would take would be watching this video and the others wouldn't even matter. :) He picked the fight when he tried to expunge all the videos on the internet.

Anonymous: Ergun wanted the fight. He has always wanted the fight or he wouldn't do and say the things he does. Stopping is not an option where lies on his background as a Muslim occur and are still occurring.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Upon an invitation from the United States Marine Corp, Dr. Caner delivered this presentation....

By the way, "Marine Corp" is not a typo. That's how it's spelled in the complaint. Twice. Reminds me of Obama's "corpseman."

New BBC Open Forum said...

I believe that if you use someones original work for commercial gain, then the artist has the right to collect what is due.

Is Smathers or "Moses Model" using these video clips for commercial gain? If so, then you are probably correct. However, I've never seen any evidence that either of them is doing this for financial gain. Now, if bloggers have ads on their blogs "Fair Use" will be more likely to be upheld if they remove the ads.

In my admittedly I'm-not-a-lawyer-and-don't-play-one-on-TV understanding of Fair Use at the very least you are entitled by law to use small portions of the total work for "critical commentary and/or parody" if you're not doing it for financial gain.

Putting up whole sermons/speeches could be infringing upon the owner, i.e. the copyright holder, but I wouldn't think Caner would be entitled to sue unless it was something he self-published. For example, if I put up an entire Steve Gaines sermon that he delivered at Bellevue, SG couldn't file a DMCA notice. However, Bellevue Baptist Church could. Gaines is their employee, and because of that relationship, he does not "own" the rights to his sermons delivered at Bellevue (unless there's something in his contract that I'm unaware of). However, "Fair Use" does entitle someone to use short portions (in relation to the whole) of a copyrighted work for non-commercial purposes.

It's my recollection that the non-profit organization, Love Worth Finding, which was founded by Adrian Rogers, either purchased from Bellevue or was gifted the rights to AR's sermons that he delivered while employed by Bellevue. (I'll verify which and correct the record if I'm mistaken, but I don't believe I am.)

However they obtained them (unless something has changed recently) LWF is now the rightful owner of AR's body of work (sermons, not books) that he produced while employed by Bellevue.

Steve Rogers (AR's son) founded the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute while still in the employ of LWF. The organizations split a few years ago, and I recall LWF filing a lawsuit (or threatening to) for copyright infringement when ARPTI reproduced some of AR's sermons and made them available for purchase.

If someone were to reproduce an entire AR sermon, say on YouTube (of which there are many examples right now that that copyright holder doesn't appear to be concerned about), that person would be infringing on the copyright of LWF (or whatever group now holds the rights), not AR (if he were still living).

ARPTI got painted into a corner because LWF squeezed them out and then threatened them with a lawsuit for copyright infringement. As I recall, LWF prevailed, either by ARPTI backing down voluntarily or a court decision. It appears a settlement was reached as the ARPTI is now producing a "legacy library" of AR's sermons, videos, notes, etc.

There is plenty of case precedent here. The short clips posted by "Moses Model" and others appear to be well within the rights of "Fair Use" and should not be able to be challenged by the likes of John Ankerberg and certainly not by Ergun Caner.

The marine training videos should be "owned" by the U.S. government, so if anyone has the right to challenge their publication, it's the USMC, not Ergun Caner, and I don't see them going after anyone over this.

This whole thing is ridiculous. No one is altering Caner's words. They're just posting clips and the entire marine videos and providing commentary. (Last I checked, the 1st Amendment still applies to bloggers, too.) Why, if he stands by what he's said -- just the facts, you know -- is Caner so hell-bent on scrubbing the internet of his own words?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Not attempting to derail the topic of discussion, but as an aside, I noticed Jack Graham (along with nearly half the Rogers family) is on the BOD of the ARPTI. Really? The SBC was, is, and apparently always will be a good-old-boys network where the welfare of women and children will never be as important as money, fame, power, and (perceived) image.

We'll probably never know for certain, and it pains me to admit this, but I've come to rethink my former opinion (which I held strongly) that AR did not know about Paul Williams. PW was making a lot of money (in investments) for a lot of the upper level staff (men) at Bellevue. I doubt AR wanted to kill the golden-egg laying goose. Or in this case, the gander.

WishIhadknown said...

There are a lot of us who were very close to the Williams' that did not know until we found out in the news.

Mark said...

Who cares what Caner thinks. What really needs to be disclosed is the contract that Ergun Caner signed in order to perform these services for the government. It was filmed, and I bet it was the government that filmed it. My guess is that he signed all his copyright rights over to the government. They have the right to distribute and it falls under the Freedom of Information Act.
I may be wrong. I haven't read the suit.

New BBC Open Forum said...

What really needs to be disclosed is the contract that Ergun Caner signed in order to perform these services for the government.

I wonder if a copy of that would be available through the FOIA. After all, we, the taxpayers, paid for it. Shouldn't we be able to find out how much we paid Ergun to "train" our troops?

Katie said...

When I was in the Navy, I made a couple of instructional videos. I had to sign away my rights to the video in total. Even my claim for the creativity involved.

Anyone can file a lawsuit. Prevailing is something else altogether.

Caner could not have acted in a more stupid manner. His complete disregard for the scriptures is evident. He is in open rebellion.

Jason at Witness Unto Me has posted a notice at his site along with an example letter to obtain the marine videos with a FOIA request. I plan to obtain a copy.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh... come on people. Where in the bible does it say "Thou shalt not utter discrepancies?"

Anonymous said...

Who attends ABC anyway? And what do they go on to do? I live in the Metroplex and I've never heard of it.

some1 said...

The videos that Caner claims are under his copyright were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Here's what the justice department says (http://www.justice.gov/oip/foia_updates/Vol_IV_4/page3.htm)

"As for those copyrighted materials to which Exemption 4 is inapplicable, the position of the Department of Justice is that the release of such materials under the FOIA is a defensible 'fair use.'"

Exemption 4 states:

"The only appropriate approach for protecting copyrighted documents under the FOIA is through the application of Exemption 4, which protects 'trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.' 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4)."

These videos obviously do not satisfy being a trade secret, they do not contain commercial or financial information, and they do not contain privileged or confidentail information. This is precisely why the information was released.

Caner chose to engage in law-fare and he is about to regret it.

Anonymous said...

Jesus told us that a tree is known by its fruit. What is Caner's fruit? We need to realize that Caner has bad fruit. Period. 'Nuff said.

Bennett Willis said...


Another blog that thinks Caner has bitten off more than he wanted.

ABC seems to be very small. This may explain why the commenter above has not heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Caner is so caught up in his lies, he thinks they are true! It will all come out, and Caner will learn that the "good ol' boys" will drop him like a hot potato to save their own standing and income stream. Big mistake! HUGE!!!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely outrageous. This "blogger" will also be writing about this.

John Wylie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Wylie said...

ABC is Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, TX. It is an independent Baptist College that trains people to be missionaries, music ministers, youth pastors, pastors, and school teachers (state certified).

I attended there for two years from 1992-1994.

terriergal said...

Why doesn't Caner try and sue the real releasers of the video, the Marine Corps?

And why can't the video be put up on a bit torrent or some foreign server where he can't get at it?

Terry Lange said...

Whatever happened to 1 Corinthians 6:1? I guess Caner does not believe that applies to him. So his response to the Bible is to file a federal lawsuit? Trying to understand how he explains that portion of Scripture away?

terriergal said...

Just FYI I got my FOIA request back today. Seems that the video in question has mysteriously vanished from the Marine Corps' records.

Well, I think Smathers ought to provide the Marine Corps with a copy of his, so that they will have it again, for all those people who are now looking for it.

And someone needs to put it up on bit torrent somewhere, or some anonymous file server overseas. This is ridiculous.