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Anti-Muslim film, 'Innocence of Muslims,' ordered off of YouTube

Innocence of Muslims removed from YouTube by court order
Innocence of Muslims removed from YouTube by court order
YouTube screenshot

The anti-Muslim film, “The Innocence of Muslims,” that caused controversy - and even violence - in portions of the Middle East now has an appeals court ordering its removal from YouTube. The decision made over the anti-Muslim film was the result of a divided three-judge panel of San Francisco’s 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a Fox News report on Wednesday.

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The appeals court’s decision reinstated the lawsuit that was filed against YouTube by one of the actresses who appeared in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia. The movie, being realized on YouTube in 2012, negatively depicted the Prophet Muhammad.

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Previously, YouTube didn’t take the movie down after world leaders – including President Barack Obama – had said they wanted the video taken off the web site. YouTube claimed that taking the video off of the web site was equated to unwarranted government censorship which would have been in violation of the firm’s free speech protections. Additionally, YouTube stated that the makers of the video – not the actors – owned the copyright. Therefore, only the filmmakers could remove it from the YouTube web site.

However, the court ruled that this court case is atypical and that Cindy Lee Garcia has retained a copyright claim that YouTube must honor. Of concern was that Garcia thought she was acting in a different movie - than the one that she ended up being part of - online.

Cris Armenta, the actress’ lawyer, asserted that Garcia would never have agreed to appear in the movie if she had known the true nature of the film.

The court said that the ruling on this film is not to be rubber-stamped, giving all actors copyright protection of the movies in which they appear. It was said that this case was different – and, in this case, Garcia’s acting was worthy of copyrighted protection.

Garcia had been paid $500 to perform for five seconds in the movie. She was told that the movie was called “Desert Warrior” and she believed it was not about radical Islam or religion. After Garcia performed in the movie, her lines were switched – via dubbing – to her asking Muhammad if he was a child molester.

Google, which owns YouTube, is going to appeal the decision – possibly appealing to the United States Supreme Court. At this time, YouTube has removed the video.

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