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Geert Wilders faces legal threats over footage copyright

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Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, whose controversial film Fitna finally hit the web yesterday, has made himself even more unpopular - it appears he forgot to secure copyright on footage used in the movie.

Danish newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose depiction of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban sparked violent protests in 2006, complained on Dutch TV that Wilders used his work without permission, "so it is simply a case of violation of copyright rules".

Earlier this month Westergaard defended Wilders and argued that the Dutch MP should show his film despite government warnings. On behalf of Westergaard, the Danish Union of Journalists says it will now sue Wilders for copyright infringement.

Also, Dutch director Rob Muntz was also surprised to see a clip of an interview he conducted with Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker who was stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam. Muntz says he never gave permission, and will seek legal advice too.

Wilders also mistakenly used a photo of Dutch-Moroccan rapper Salah Edin instead of Mohammed Bouyeri, Theo van Gogh’s murderer. Edin, perhaps unsurprisingly, is also suing.

UK video sharing site LiveLeak said it received several targetted hacking attacks when it hosted the film yesterday. Since then Fitna appeared on many mirror sites such as Cripsbybarbecue.com and Parmalink.be.

Dutch authorities reported a calm night after the movie was launched. Dutch government felt that the anti-Islam film is much less provocative than expected, altough Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said he rejected Wilders’ views. Wilders says he will tour the Netherlands and start a debate. ®

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