Courts

Innocence Offline

Anti-Islam video takedown

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In February, a U.S. appeals court ordered in a 2-1 ruling that Google remove the trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims from YouTube.

The controversial trailer, which depicts the prophet Muhammad as a violent child molester, sparked riots across the globe and was initially mistakenly cited as the cause of the September 2012 riot in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens.

But it was not the controversial nature of the trailer that prompted the court to order Google to remove it from YouTube. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued the order after one of the actors in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia, claimed that she had suffered "irreparable harm" for appearing in the project and that she had the right to independently copyright her performance. A lower court had ruled that Garcia could copyright her performance in what was described by Wired as an "unprecedented decision that turns decades of copyright law on its head."

Google filed an emergency motion following the court's ruling in an attempt to keep the film on YouTube. In the appeal, Google said, "Protected speech on a matter of broad public interest is undoubtedly being gagged." That appeal was denied and as of March, the full trailer remained unavailable on YouTube.

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