Innocence of Muslims

Innocence of Muslims Copyright Claim Back in Court

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The Golden Globes snub really hurt, too.
"Innocence of Muslims"

The online fate of the bizarre, terrible little anti-Muslim film called Innocence of Muslims is up for debate again today. It would have been considered camp if it hadn't been blamed by the Obama Administration for terrorism and Mideast violence (including the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya).

The movie has been forced off YouTube not because of these invocations of terrorist agitation, but rather over an unusual copyright claim. The actors who were in the movie say they were deceived and filmed a movie called Desert Warrior, only to have their lines dubbed over with anti-Muslim propaganda. One actor, Cindy Lee Garcia, sued to force the movie off the Internet. She claimed copyright ownership of her own performance, and therefore demanded the video be taken down. Google, owner of YouTube is resisting, but earlier in the year a split federal appeals court panel, led by Judge Alex Kozinski, accepted Garcia's copyright argument, even though she was paid for her short performance and was not the filmmaker. Now it's before the full court.

Experts think the ruling is unlikely to stand and creates some bad precedents on the way to trying to be kind to Garcia, who has received death threats over her small role in the short  video. From the Associated Press:

Google is supported in its appeal by an unusual alliance that includes filmmakers, Internet rivals such as Yahoo and prominent news media companies such as The New York Times that don't want the court to infringe on First Amendment rights.

Garcia has support from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Musicians.

If the court upholds the smaller panel's ruling, YouTube and other Internet companies could face takedown notices from others in minor video roles.

Alex Lawrence, a copyright and intellectual property lawyer in New York not connected with the case, said he thinks the court will reverse the earlier ruling because the judges reached a decision to give Garcia some relief on thinly grounded law.

"There's a lot of sympathy for Miss Garcia," Lawrence said. "She got paid $500 and received death threats. Everyone feels sympathy for her, but using copyright in this way is a real problem for a lot of industries."

In March, Jerry Brito noted the problematic precedent that could be set if the ruling in favor of Garcia stands. He noted, "If this decision is allowed to stand, it will encourage actors everywhere to begin to assert separate copyrights over their performances in films in which they have appeared." Read more here.

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  1. When will we see a professionally produced, full length Muslim “Life of Brian”?

    1. When can you induce a death wish in enough industry professionals to make it?

      1. Bring together all those Hollywood bigwigs who continually pat themselves on the back for their courage…

        oh, I *almost* got through that sentence without giggling.

        1. It’s courageous to attack Christians and conservatives. Attacking Muslims is just ‘racist’.

          1. I remember reading an interview with Sarah Silverman where she talked about the support she got from others for her courage in making fund of Christians.

            Of course, that lost some of its punch when she later declared she wouldn’t make fun of Muslims the same way because “those people are crazy.”

            1. Of course, that lost some of its punch when she later declared she wouldn’t make fun of Muslims the same way because “those people are crazy.”

              That’s the joke!

        2. I bet if someone were industrious enough, they could probably trick them into making something like that. Convince them that it’s a great social justice cause or just pretend that it’s not satire…a kind of reverse Poe’s Law deal.

  2. It seems that the appropriate way to attack this film is via a claim of Fraud. If someone films you- for whatever reasons- under false pretenses, you should be able to sue the film-maker and get an injunction against that person disallowing them from publishing your testimony that was made false.

    I can see this also being useful for people who were tricked in interviews, or the victims of selective editing. The proper role of courts then would not be to enforce copyrights, but rather to determine whether the person was taped under fraudulent circumstances. This would include taking their video without their permission or using the video for purposes not authorized by the “performer”. Obvious exceptions for the filming occurred in a public place or other setting where consent would not be expected.

    1. If someone films you- for whatever reasons- under false pretenses, you should be able to sue the film-maker and get an injunction against that person disallowing them from publishing your testimony that was made false.

      An entirely separate issue.

      To apply such a standard to paid actors is idiotic. The performers don’t own their performance, the person who paid for it does and barring contractual obligations he can do with it whatever the fuck he wants.

      This will open the door to people who’ve had their scenes end up on the cutting room floor to sue because they were “mislead” about their presence in the end film.

      This would include taking their video without their permission or using the video for purposes not authorized by the “performer”.

      That’s already illegal. Filming a stand-up act and then posting it online is a big no-no.

      1. Ahem:

        To apply such a standard to paid actors is idiotic. The performers don’t own their performance, the person who paid for it does and barring contractual obligations he can do with it whatever the fuck he wants.

        This will open the door to people who’ve had their scenes end up on the cutting room floor to sue because they were “mislead” about their presence in the end film.

        1. Since you are a mendacious fuck Overt:

          TO APPLY SUCH A STANDARD TO PAID ACTORS IS IDIOTIC. tHE PERFORMERS DON’T OWN THEIR PERFORMANCE, THE PERSON WHO PAID FOR IT DOES AND BARRING CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS HE CAN DO WITH IT WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS.

          THIS WILL OPEN THE DOOR TO PEOPLE WHO’VE HAD THEIR SCENES END UP ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR TO SUE BECAUSE THEY WERE “MISLEAD” ABOUT THEIR PRESENCE IN THE END FILM.

  3. I can see this also being useful for people who were tricked in interviews, or the victims of selective editing.

    That would put an end to The Daily Show. Most ‘news’ shows, too.

    1. Well, I imagine there is still room for Satire. Likewise, I also see room for investigative reporting where you do not get CONSENT, but you are still obligated to not selectively edit your recordings to give an impression different than the truth. I believe such standards are pretty well understood in police or private investigations. (i.e. Cops can get in trouble for releasing selectively edited statements that create a prejudicial environment for the defendent.)

      But I wouldn’t be too broken up if an “Entertainer” would no longer be able to make a living by tricking a person into giving them time and then using selective editing to make them “say” something other than what they meant. I mean, isn’t that what con-artists get in trouble for?

      1. Yeah, fuck freedom of expression.

        1. Freedom of expression does not grant you permission to “express” lies during formation of a contract. Libel, Slander and Fraud are all areas where you use your freedom of expression to infringe on the rights of another.

          As I said, there is no reason why a court (even in a libertarian world, an arbitrator) couldn’t discern the point where satire or investigation crosses into Fraud, libel or slander. It would be a process of discovery- looking at the totality of taped material and evidence of contracts (in cases of performances by actors) and then determining whether or not the defendant infringed on another person’s rights.

          I didn’t offer this as a defense of the plaintiff in the article, but rather as an alternative to inventing and enforcing a “copyright” claim out of thin air, which is too easy to abuse and creates unnecessary and mythical property rights.

          1. Libel, Slander and Fraud are all areas where you use your freedom of expression to infringe on the rights of another.

            So, what you’re arguing has absolutely nothing to do with this actual case.

            Ok, thanks for your completely pointless input.

            1. Project much?

              As far as I can tell, you are the only one adding noise to this signal.

              1. Project much?

                Yeah Tony, that’s it.

                As far as I can tell, you are the only one adding noise to this signal.

                I know Tony, you don’t like responding to posts that point out how completely fucking absurd your asinine ideas really are.

                1. Ah, I see the problem.

                  My handle is Overt, not Tony. True, it does have a T and an O in it. However, in language, one must learn that the placement and choice of letters does change the meaning of the resulting word. (As an aside, it may also surprise you that even though the lowercase ‘r’ and lowercase ‘n’ look similar, they are, in fact, different letters.)

                  Likewise, the words formed out of the aforementioned letters also relate different concepts depending on their relative order and the choice of which words to include in a sentence. I only mention that because you seem to think I am arguing concepts that I am not. You also seem to have trouble understanding what this article is about, and therefore what concepts might be related and thus germane to the conversation.

                  In any case, while I am not as prolific a poster to these forums as (say) FOE or Epi, I do have a long history posting here- a simple search of this site for my posts will confirm this- including several debates with T-Douche. Once you’ve figured out that whole spelling and sentence comprehension bit, you might consider reading up a bit, where you will quickly disabuse yourself of the notion that I am he…or it.

                  In any case, as much as this trip down Preschool reading comprehension has been entertaining, I simply must bid you farewell. I wish you luck in your self-improvement efforts, wherever they might take you.

                  1. Mendacity suits you well.

  4. So, was the court saying that her contract to be in the film was void for fraud in the inducement?

    That’s about the only argument I can see. And, holy crap, does that ever open the door for endless copyright disputes.

    Not sure it would affect the news shows, which don’t have “work made for hire” contracts with their interview subjects.

    But for anyone doing creative work, hell, every creative dispute over the song/album/show/movie/whatever can blow up into having the whole thing shelved. “You told me this was a light-hearted drawing room comedy, but now its more of a murder mystery!”

    1. I think the first step is destroying the myth that a person’s performance is some sort of property right. From there, it is a matter of people learning to structure their contracts correctly. You can bet that starving actors will happily sign a contract that allows for the scenario of a creative work changing significantly during the process of development. Of course, as with many stars today, you can always negotiate for stronger contractual requirements like the right to review the final material before release. The success of such negotiations will naturally be dependent on how much the maker needs you.

      And, I accept there will be grey areas, at which point an arbitrator will need to weigh in. It doesn’t require copyright at all, was my point.

      1. Regarding news shows: I agree there isn’t a contract, so fraud PROBABLY wouldn’t come into it. However, I think there is room for libel and slander to come to play. There is ample case law for this, so I think an independent arbitrator would be able to discern (within an acceptible margin) where the line is between someone taking soundbites to piece together you saying “I like to eat puppies” and them just choosing unfavorable comments that you actually made.

  5. The online fate of the bizarre, terrible little anti-Muslim film called Innocence of Muslims

    Ok, established that this film was terrible, mean to muslims… please don’t firebomb our offices.

    1. I know, right? Also notice how acting-out scenes from Muhammad’s life as described by the Qu’ran and ahadith is labeled “anti-Muslim propaganda”.

      1. Propaganda doesn’t have to be false. It is designed to create a particular impression about Islam, so I think propaganda is accurate.

        1. That’s true. What I’m stuck on is how acting out scenes as described verbatim within the religion’s holy texts is considered “anti-“.

          1. Well, that was clearly the intent of the guy who made the movie (or whatever actually was made). But I don’t know enough about the texts to have more of an opinion on the content.

    2. Whether it is mean or unfair to Muslims is irrelevant to the film’s terribleness (at least judging from the trailer or whatever it was that I saw). It’s just terrible by any standard of movie making.

      1. So is every single parody video reason produces. Oh haha that lady is wearing a witches hat and whinning for the fifteenth time that switchblades in apples don’t happen. Paul was absolutley right Reason included those modifiers completely out of PC cultural leftism an cravenness.

        1. Witch’s

      2. “It’s just terrible by any standard of movie making.”

        Have you seen Battlefield Earth?

  6. ” the bizarre, terrible little anti-Muslim film “

    Scott = be honest. You’ve only seen the trailer.

  7. Wait, did Reason just post a depiction of the prophet?

    Good thing no one knows we’re here, otherwise you’d get Jihad declared on you!

    DERKA! DERPA!

  8. Cameron . I see what you mean… Christina `s blog is astonishing, on sunday I bought a brand new Lexus LS400 since I been bringin in $5235 recently and even more than $10k lass month . without a doubt it is the easiest work I have ever had . I began this 10-months ago and almost immediately started bringin in minimum $75 p/h .
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  9. C’mon people, you disappointing me here…

    “What difference ? at this point, what difference does it make?”

  10. “It would have been considered camp if it hadn’t been blamed by the Obama Administration for terrorism and Mideast violence (including the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya).”

    Well, not quite. The film did not provoke the attack on the U.S. “consulate” (really a CIA outpost) in Benghazi, but it did cause widespread violence across the Muslim world. This CNN article reports 15 deaths. The Wikipedia entry says 50. The notion that the Obama Administration invented the story is false. It would be nice if “Reason” would try to get its facts straight once in a while.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/21/…..m-protests

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocence_of_Muslims

    1. That’s funny guy, the Obama Admin. blamed the movie specifically for the Benghazi attack.

    2. “The film did not provoke the attack on the U.S. “consulate” (really a CIA outpost) in Benghazi, but it did cause widespread violence across the Muslim world.”

      Those poor Muslims, they’re just too weak and stupid to control themselves when an unpleasant film is released.

      Seriously, that level of condescension is usually reserved for a three year old at the candy store during nap-time.

  11. America has no moral right to control communications like Europe has had since around 1734-1766.

    I am afraid the only way to get justice from GOOG is click on all ads on GOOG search pages once a week for about an hour regardless of desires in order to destroy the ability of GOOG to profit while creating and providing ABSOLUTELY nothing. Here at reason or at other real websites, at least content is offered to support advertising.

    A culturally senile porn addict in the Western District of Arkansas, Most Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren, ruled that United States’ copy[rite] laws were written carefully to exclude “online” in 1990 when no profitable commercial search engine on Earth existed. The moral right to control original art was ruled to be written carefully not to apply online for even the unauthorized and undesired display of naked art to children in schools after an artist protest. (me)

    See http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/docum…..0001009594 and realize the United States’ immoral elderly oligarchs are not nearly the only avenue I have pursued.

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