This year’s movie about Facebook that has nothing to do with Harvard or a billion dollars is called Catfish, and follows a young New Yorker to Michigan to meet a family he’s communicated with online. What follows in the documentary is a parable about the risks of connections made virtually, as 24-year-old Nev’s arresting journey plays out in unexpected ways. The filmmakers claim it’s all a true story and that they just happened to have the camera on for every twist. Others allege that Nev and friends knew what was going to happen the whole time, but played it up for the camera. Now, thanks to a bad country song, we might find out the truth.
The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive news of a new lawsuit, which alleges that the song “All Downhill From Here” by Amy Kuney was used unfairly in the film, violating copyright law.
Without giving anything away, the truthfulness of the movie’s premise comes into play because of the song’s central role in the unraveling of the events on screen. If the movie is indeed not staged, then playing the song in the documentary falls under fair use. If the moment in which the song plays is nothing more than a prearranged plot point, they would be required to pay for its use.
“This is definitely fair use because it’s a true story,” maintains one of the film’s producers. Still, he notes that he hopes they can come to an agreement, preventing a jury from deciding whether Catfish is a hoax or not. That’s probably for the best. You can decide for yourself.
New Lawsuit Seeks to Expose Truth Behind ‘Catfish’ [THR complete with spoilers]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2010