YouTube Ordered to Take Down Anti-Muslim Film Which Sparked Mass Protests In Middle East


ytuA federal appeals court ordered YouTube on Wednesday to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in many parts of the Middle East.

The decision by a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated a lawsuit filed against YouTube by an actress who appeared in the video. The 9th Circuit said the YouTube posting infringed actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s copyright to her role, and she, not just the filmmaker, could demand its removal.

The court’s ruling addressed control of the clip, not its contents, which YouTube determined didn’t violate its standards.

“Garcia’s performance was used in a way that she found abhorrent and her appearance in the film subjected her to threats of physical harm and even death,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the majority court. “Despite these harms, and despite Garcia’s viable copyright claim, Google refused to remove the film from YouTube.”

Garcia said she was duped into appearing in the film by the man behind it, Mark Basseley Youssef. She said the script she saw referenced neither Muslims nor Mohammad, and her voice was dubbed over after filming.

The 14-minute film, “Innocence of Muslims,” depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, pedophile and womanizer.

It sparked violence in late 2012, but YouTube rebuffed requests from President Barack Obama to take it down, arguing that only the filmmaker and not the actress owned the copyright.

The court said the actress owned the copyright to her performance because she thought it was for another film unrelated to what ultimately aired.



  1. That’s not copyright because she isn’t claiming that her work is being infringed. She is claiming her image was being used without her permission, which is more of a contract law claim than an IP claim, except for those states where you have a statutory right to control your image.

    The maker of the video can replace her using a photoshop type program, which woulud have cost a lot less than litigation.

  2. eric55: But if the actress feels it would hurt her career, she probably has a legal right, depending on the terms of contract, to ask that it be taken down. The case as it now stands according to the article has nothing to do with overseas protests.

  3. “Sorry charlie”

    I had not written anything on this until now. But I agree with akuperma on this. I suspect that YouTube has been so cavalier about intellectual property in the past that they never imagined that anyone would actually object. I hope that the actress wins.

  4. Well, it’s good we have a court system that can remove a threat to public safety…more than a year after it ceased being a threat. Good job!

  5. 5. The problem with your comment is that it was NEVER an issue. Obummer, Hillary, and Susan incompetent rice went around blaming this previously unseen video for their Benghazi Blunder. The truth is the three of them should be tarred and feathered for their roll in Benghazi!

  6. #6- The fact the Hillary, Susan and Barack are fools is irrelevant. It is slightly relevant that the video wa vulgar and rude, and it is highly relevant that the actress in the video has good professional reasons, and a legal basis, to object to the video based on American law.