Posted in: Broadband Video Companies, Google, Legal, DRM, Piracy & IP, News, Video on Demand, YouTube by Dave Parrack on February 27, 2014

u.s.-flag-burningAn appeals court has ordered Google to remove a controversial short film from YouTube after an actress who appeared in Innocence Of Muslims filed a copyright claim. The decision seems to go against existing thinking on copyright laws.

Innocence Of Muslims

In 2012, a 14-minute video titled Innocence Of Muslims was uploaded to YouTube. The video, which is extremely offensive to Islam, caused controversy around the world, and especially across the Middle-East.

It was used to justify demonstrations and protests, some of which turned violent. These protests claimed the lives of at least 50 people, with many more being injured. The death toll included four American diplomats, who were killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

At this point the U.S. Government asked Google to act, but the company refused to remove the video from YouTube because it complied with its posting guidelines. Viewing was, however, restricted in both Egypt and Libya.

Innocence Of Google

Innocence Of Muslims has remained up on YouTube ever since, with little in the way of mainstream press. The people involved in its production have continued to face death threats and had fatwas issued against them.

While the director knew what slant he was putting on the production, the actors who appeared in Innocence Of Muslims did not, believing instead they were appearing in a film titled Desert Warrior. The offensive comments about Islam and Muslims was added in post-production.

This led to one of the actors, Cindy Lee Garcia, going to court to try and get the clip removed. She began by suing YouTube, and when that tactic failed she claimed the film violated her copyright.

Her copyright claim has now been accepted by the 9th circuit appeals court. As a result Innocence Of Muslims has been removed from YouTube.

Conclusions

TechDirt has taken against this judgement in the strongest possible terms, going through it step by step and calling out the judges for making decisions that seem to go against existing copyright laws.

The Innocence Of Muslims video has been removed from YouTube, and Google has been ordered to keep other copies from being uploaded. Which is likely to be an almost-impossible task.

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