[San Jose Mercury News]
Google must take down a controversial anti-Muslim video on YouTube that sparked protests across the Muslim world because keeping it on the website violates the rights of an actress who sued after she was duped into appearing in the film, a divided federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Google’s arguments that being forced to take down the video, “Innocence of Muslims,” would be a prior restraint that would violate the company’s First Amendment protections.
Actress Cindy Lee Garcia proved the need to remove the video from YouTube, the appeals court concluded, in part because of ongoing death threats since it sparked violent protests after being first aired by Egyptian television in 2012.
“This is a troubling case,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote. “Garcia was duped into providing an artistic performance that was used in a way she never could have foreseen.”
Garcia sued after Google repeatedly rebuffed her pleas to take it down from YouTube. The actress had been cast in a minor role in a film called “Desert Warrior,” and paid $500 by director Mark Basseley Youssef, but the movie never materialized, according to court papers.