Solar Mountain Partner Uses Copyrighted Footage Without Permission

This past June 16, during a workshop where he pitched the Biscayne Landings site, lawyer Marc Douthit showed North Miami city council members and residents a 14-minute Discovery Channel film about Ski Dubai, an indoor snow resort in the United Arab Emirates. When a resident asked Douthit if he had permission from the cable network to use the footage, he emphatically stated, "Yes we do." Douthit's assertion didn't sit well with North Miami activist David Levin. He tracked down Aaron Holbert, in-house legal affairs counsel for Discovery Communications, to find out if Douthit was telling the truth. Turns out the North Miami attorney didn't have the media company's blessing.

This past June 30, Holbert wrote a cease and desist letter to Douthit, a former law partner of North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre who is president of Solar Mountain, the company proposing to build the indoor ski park. Holbert accuses Douthit of using clips from Discovery's show Really Big Things without permission.

"We believe that your unauthorized use and display of this content constitutes copyright infringement," Holbert wrote, adding that Douthit had until July 16 to respond to Discovery's demands.

Levin accused Douthit of misleading North Miami residents. "As a Florida Bar admitted attorney, he violated the cannon of ethics," Levin said. "He should be sanctioned or disbarred."

Douthit did not return a message left on his voicemail or an email with detailed questions.

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