2017 has not unfolded how InfoWars and its founder and key host, Alex Jones, likely anticipated. They are allegedly facing an FBI inquiry into whether it knowingly spread Russian propaganda and misinformation, and a widely publicized custody trial found Jones, who has stated that mass shootings are staged by the government in order to take away the weapons of gun owners, claiming he was “just an entertainer.” Now InfoWars has a new problem, as it supposedly has been plagiarizing news outlets across the world, but one above all.
BuzzFeed’s reporting team noticed similarities between InfoWars articles and articles from Russia Today, better known as RT. RT is the American branch of the state-owned TV-Novosti, and has been referred to as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet” in federal reports. It’s even being investigated for attempting to buy politically charged Twitter handles. So that InfoWars has been de-facto promoting Russian propaganda is likely to make life harder for the outlet, but it gets worse. RT is publicly stating InfoWars stole their articles:
After noticing RT articles on InfoWars, BuzzFeed News contacted RT to ask whether it runs a newswire that enables other outlets to republish its content. “RT doesn’t have wire services,” [spokeswoman Anna] Belkina said. She sent a link to RT’s official copyright policy. The policy says RT has to give explicit permission for its work to be re-printed. She also said InfoWars doesn’t have such permission.
This exposes InfoWars to legal action, but it’s not the only outlet that may go after the company. BuzzFeed also found InfoWars contributors allegedly plagiarizing stories from CNN, Sputnik, Breitbart, CNS News, the Blaze, CBC, BBC, Vice, The Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, and others. If InfoWars lacked permission, it may find itself mired in an enormous number of legal proceedings and facing potentially millions of dollars in costs.
However, the RT connection may be the most problematic. Jones is a frequent guest on RT, which many media and political observers have found curious, and went on a homophobic rant when Democratic representative Adam Schiff accused him of being in bed with Russia. It may simply be that InfoWars is like many websites that fall afoul of copyright law, but this raises new questions that InfoWars, and Jones, may struggle to shake.
(via BuzzFeed News)