Jerry Brito: When Copyright Smothers Free Expression

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Innocence of Muslims
Innocence of Muslims

Innocence of Muslims, the low rent, 14-minute propaganda video released in 2012, has sparked a new controversy. This time it's not protests in the streets of Benghazi, but shock and indignation among copyright experts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that one of the video's actresses has a copyright interest in it and can therefore force YouTube to take it down. If this ruling is allowed to stand and it becomes precedent, get ready to see dozens, if not hundreds, or lawsuits by actors claiming they own copyright in their performances, separate and apart from the copyright in the movie itself. Worse, writes Jerry Brito, by creating a new right in actors' performances, this case may make any number of works unavailable at the behest of actors.

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