Actress Files Suit Against YouTube In Anti-Muslim Film Case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An actress who appeared in an anti-Muslim film trailer that sparked violence in the Middle East has renewed her legal bid to have the 14-minute clip taken down from YouTube.
Cindy Lee Garcia filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against YouTube, parent company Google Inc., and the filmmaker, citing copyright infringement and seeking unspecified damages. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge last week denied a similar motion sought by Garcia to have the trailer removed from YouTube, saying Garcia was unlikely to prevail on the merits of her case.
Garcia said she was duped by the makers of “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that stoked anger in Egypt and Libya this month and an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. Violence related to the film has since spread, killing dozens more.
Garcia’s attorney, Cris Armenta, said YouTube and Google would be served with the lawsuit Thursday. An email message left with Google’s media relations department was not immediately returned.
Garcia claims in her lawsuit that her copyright was violated when Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the video who has since gone into hiding, posted the trailer on YouTube. Garcia thought she was in a movie called “Desert Warrior” and the script she saw referenced neither Muslims nor Muhammad.
The trailer depicts Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.
Garcia maintains that because she never signed a release transferring her intellectual property rights to Nakoula or a production company, she is a copyright holder and her interests remain intact under federal law.
At a hearing in Los Angeles last week, Google attorney Timothy Alger said the company shouldn’t be responsible for what transpired between Garcia and the filmmakers. Armenta said it’s unclear whether Google had contacted Nakoula to determine why he hasn’t removed the film.
Federal authorities are investigating if Nakoula violated his probation for a 2010 check fraud conviction by putting the trailer online. Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
YouTube has blocked users in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt from viewing the clip, as well as Indonesia and India, because it violates laws in those countries.
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