Google fights court order to takedown Islamophobic film
By: Alex Hern
Google is fighting a US court’s demand that it take down a trailer for an Islamophobic movie called Innocence of Muslims due to a copyright claim.
The company was ordered to take down the video by the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco after an actress who appeared in it filed a copyright claim against the company.
Google has complied with the order for the time being, but intends to fight it. It has replaced its standard takedown notice with one specific to this situation. On every copy of the trailer on the site, instead of the video is a note that reads: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by an actress over her 5-second appearance in the video. A US court has ordered Google to remove the video. We strongly disagree with this copyright ruling and will fight it.”
Cindy Lee Garcia is the actor in question. She claims that she was duped into appearing in the film, which depicts the prophet Mohammed as a paedophile and womaniser. The short movie sparked violence in the middle east when it was released in 2012, and 17 countries asked YouTube to take it down, including Bangladesh, Brazil, India, and Indonesia.
Three other countries, Australia, Egypt and the United States, asked Google to review the video review to determine if it violated the company’s community guidelines; America’s request was made by Barack Obama personally. Google decided it did not violate their guidelines.
Garcia says that the script she saw for the film, which she was told would be called Desert Warrior, referenced neither Islam nor Mohammed, and that her part was overdubbed in the finished movie.
As a result, the court awarded her copyright to her performance in the film, reasoning that she thought it was for a different movie to the one which was ultimately created.