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!
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • 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.