After threatening “911 Mysteries” and its producer for two years, Rick Siegel finally got McDermott, Will and Emery of Chicago to file a lawsuit for him in federal court in April 2009, charging Smallstorm of using his footage in her film without his permission, and of adding fabricated explosions to it -- to support the film’s supposed contention that the U.S. government was behind the attacks of 9/11.
It appears that Rick Siegel seems to have forgotten the thesis of “911 Eyewitness” itself – the film created by his partner Dave Shaw to demonstrate the pre- and mid-collapse explosions caught by Siegel’s camera as the towers collapsed. Siegel has expressed outrage toward Smallstorm on the Internet and in public emails for using the word “collapsed” at all – insisting the towers “exploded.” Additionally, “911 Mysteries” does not contend who was behind 9/11 ... in fact, the film is famous for its neutral and evidence-based presentation.
The last two years have been spent exchanging letters between lawyers – with Smallstorm explaining as clearly as possible what transpired between her and Siegel’s partners, who were published joint copyright holders to the “911 Eyewitness” film. Six years after he shot his “Original Footage,” Siegel registered an official copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, and also copyrighted “911 Eyewitness” in his name. He maintains today that his partners were never authorized to give anyone permission to use his footage.
Smallstorm has had to pay her lawyers for the numerous letters exchanged, none of which have satisfied Siegel or his lawyers. Why a prestigious nationwide law firm with over 800 highly qualified attorneys would take on a case with so little to recover, and so dubious a basis (a non-exclusive grant of rights does not require a written license) is baffling. Siegel flew in from overseas (a two-day trip) to meet in federal court in September only to learn that his legal position is not strong.
The defamation of “911 Mysteries” he has produced on the Internet, posted all over to forums and on his many websites, is considerable. Perhaps the delay in filing the suit was to use the statutory window (three years) to malign “911 Mysteries” for as long as possible, and then get a foot in the judicial door before the window closed. The fact that he has failed to inform his lawyers about the real nature of the film he has put his name on is also bizarre. His sizeable demands for monetary compensation for harm to him by being associated with a “fraudulent documentary” like “911 Mysteries” make no sense at all. How has he been harmed by having his footage mentioned in a film that is felt by many to be the most credible video on the destruction of the Twin Towers? Plenty of people never would have heard of “911 Eyewitness” had they not become aware of it through “911 Mysteries.” Moreover, it is listed on the jacket of the 911 Mysteries DVD as a “recommended resource,” and Siegel’s complaint is for “unfair competition.” How is promoting someone’s work construed to be unfair competition?
Who is paying Siegel’s bills? Many have wondered. The I.O. has learned that Siegel is being represented pro bono – for free – as an “artist who has been wronged.” Again, why would a prestigious law firm take on a client who has publicly defamed so many people, and who is not exactly an “artist”? Siegel was considered to be an asset to the 9/11 movement at one time, before he went on a rampage against nearly every major figure in the movement. Can enough people convince him, other than by expensive legal means, to drop his aggressive pursuit of non-existent gains? Please help Sofia to deal with this malicious prosecution by donating at www.911weknow.com or by mail to Avatar, P.O. Box 698, Cardiff CA 92007). Most readers of The Idaho Observer love the film “911 Mysteries” – so now is the time to show your support. Every little bit helps - small donations from all corners of the country will certainly make a difference. Sofia Smallstorm extends her great appreciation and gratitude to all of you who have read of her plight and are moved to donate to her defense.