The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order today demanding YouTube to remove an anti-Muslim film from its site. The film, called Innocence of Muslims, has been the source of much controversy around the world, including a riot in Libya that killed for Americans in 2012.
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who took part in the Innocence of Muslims film, says that she and the other actors were told they were starring in a short film called Desert Warriors, but that the producer dubbed over most of the speaking parts to create the anti-Islamic work Innocence of Muslims. Not only did the film openly mock Muslims, some scenes depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a pedophile and homosexual, which caused Garcia and her family to receive many threats of violence.
Garcia asked YouTube to remove the anti-Muslim film in 2012, but the request was denied, so she brought forth a lawsuit. While Garcia was initially told that the video wouldn't be removed because it was a First Amendment issue, Garcia's lawsuit was based on the video being a copyright infringement issue. The lawsuit eventually made it to federal court where a three-judge panel decided in favor of Garcia in a 2-1 ruling.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote the majority opinion for the decision. Read an excerpt from the opinion below:
Garcia's performance was used in a way that she found abhorrent and her appearance in the film subjected her to threats of physical harm and even death. Despite these harms, and despite Garcia's viable copyright claim, Google refused to remove the film from YouTube. It’s hard to see how Google can defend its refusal on equitable grounds and, indeed, it doesn't really try. Instead, it argues that an injunction would be inequitable because of the overwhelming public interest in the continued hosting of Innocence of Muslims on YouTube.
Read the rest of the decision here.
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