Judge Refuses To Pull Anti-Islam Film From Net

Actress Loses Bid To Bounce Controversial Flick From YouTube


By Reuters

Published December 01, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

An actress who said she was duped into appearing in an anti-Islam film that stoked violent protests against the United States across the Muslim world lost on Friday her second legal bid to force the video off YouTube.

Denying a request by actress Cindy Lee Garcia for a court order requiring the popular online video site to remove the crudely made 13-minute clip, a federal judge found she was unlikely to prevail on her claims of copyright infringement.

U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald of Santa Clara, California, also canceled a Dec. 3 hearing he had previously set for oral arguments over Garcia’s request.

Garcia’s lawyer, Cris Armenta, told Reuters she planned to appeal the decision.

The lawsuit, filed in September, names YouTube and its parent company Google Inc as defendants, along with the film’s producer.

A previous motion by Garcia for a temporary restraining order against YouTube’s continued posting of the video was rejected by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

Garcia’s case was the first known civil litigation stemming from the video, billed as a film trailer, which depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and a sexual deviant. The clip sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and dozens of other Muslim countries.

The outbreak of violence coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi in September that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.

Google has refused to remove the film from YouTube, despite pressure from the White House and others to take it down, though the company has blocked the trailer in Egypt, Libya and other Muslim countries.

Garcia has accused the purported filmmaker of fraud, libel and unfair business practices.

But her federal lawsuit also asserts a copyright claim to her performance in the video, titled “The Innocence of Muslims,” and accuses Google of infringing on that copyright by distributing the video without her approval via YouTube.

But in a three-page ruling, the judge questioned the validity of such a claim. He held that even if she could prove a legitimate copyright interest in her film performance, she effectively relinquished her rights to producers of the film.

Fitzgerald also ruled that Garcia failed to show that she would suffer irreparable harm without an injunction.

Garcia’s lawsuit identifies Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian living in the Los Angeles area, as the film’s producer. His legal name has since been established to be Mark Basseley Youssef and he served time in federal prison for bank fraud.

According to the lawsuit, Youssef operated under the assumed name of Sam Bacile when he misled Garcia and other performers into appearing in an anti-Muslim film they believed was to be an adventure drama called “Desert Warrior.” She claims to have since received death threats.

Despite Friday’s ruling against her, “we hope that worldwide the message has been heard that Ms. Garcia was not complicit and did not voluntarily participate in this heinous piece of hate speech,” her lawyer said in a statement.

Youssef was sent back to jail for a year on Nov. 7 for probation violations stemming from his role in making the video, including his use of an alias in connection with the film.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.