Actress Loses Again In Bid For Takedown Of 'Muslims' Trailer
Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has lost another bid to force YouTube to take down the incendiary "Innocence of Muslims" trailer.
Garcia unsuccessfully argued that she owns a copyright interest in her performance, and that YouTube was infringing that copyright by continuing to display the clip over her objection. She sought an injunction forcing the service to remove the clip.
But U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald in the Central District of California denied Garcia's request. He ruled that she hadn't shown a likelihood of success on the merits -- which is necessary to obtain an injunction -- mainly because she doesn't appear to actually own a copyright interest in the clip, a 14-minute trailer for the film. He wrote that even if she at one time had a copyright in her performance (in itself, a questionable claim), she had to have assigned it to the film's author. "Garcia necessarily (if impliedly) would have granted the film’s author a license to distribute her performance as a contribution incorporated into the indivisible whole of the film," Fitzgerald wrote.
Garcia, who says she was duped into appearing in the film, previously failed to convince a state court judge to take down the clip on the ground that YouTube infringed her right to control the use of her image.
Garcia says she was cast in "Innocence of Muslims" after answering a Backstage ad for a film called "Desert Warrior," which she thought was an adventure movie set in ancient Egypt. She also sued the film's producer. She has said that she received death threats since the film was posted to YouTube, and that she lost her job due to security concerns sparked by her appearance in the movie. Online clips from the film triggered protests in the Middle East in September.
But, as Fitzgerald rightly points out in his decision denying an injunction, whatever damage has been done to Garcia's reputation won't be repaired now by ordering YouTube to remove the clip. "The film was posted for public viewing on YouTube on July 2, 2012 -- five months ago," Fitzgerald wrote. "Given this five-month delay, Garcia has not demonstrated that the requested preliminary relief would prevent any alleged harm."