Screenshot from the video 'Innocence of Muslims'
From The Clarion Project.
U.S. Court Orders Google to Remove Anti-Islam Video
In a 2-1 vote, a U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a lower court’s decision and told Google, Inc. it must take down the “Innocence of Muslims” video from its website “YouTube.”
Google will take the case to a higher court. “We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it,” the internet giant said in a statement.
The company was taken to court by Cindy Lee Garcia, one of the actresses that appeared in the film. Garcia requested that the video be taken down after seeing that it included a clip she had made for a completely different film. The clip was partially dubbed and had Garcia asking, "Is your Mohammed a child molester?"
The video (which was billed as a trailer to an upcoming film) generated an onslaught of anti-America protests across the Muslim world in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The Obama administration originally tried to blame the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi by Islamists on the video, although it was later proven that the attack was premeditated.
Although Google blocked the video in Egypt and Libya as well as a number of other countries, it refused to remove the video in the U.S. despite pressure from the White House.
Google argued to the court that Garcia only appeared in the video for five seconds. Although Google acknowledged that she had a potential a case against the director, they argued that posting the video did not violate copyright laws. Further, Google argued that removal of the video would be a violation of free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. In addition, Google argued that the video had become an important part of public debate and hence, should not be removed.
"Our laws permit even the vilest criticisms of governments, political leaders, and religious figures as legitimate exercises in free speech," Google wrote.
The judge, Alex Kozinski, ruled that the video must be taken down since it was likely that Garcia would win her copyright claims. Without an injunction to remove the video, the judge said that Garcia faced irreparable harm, especially since she had already faced “serious threats against her life.
"It's disappointing, though perhaps not surprising, that Garcia needed to sue in order to protect herself and her rights," the judge wrote.