Google Fights Contempt Accusation, Says It Took 'Unprecedented' Steps To Remove 'Innocence Of Muslims'

Google has made “painstaking” efforts to prevent the clip “Innocence of Muslims” from appearing on YouTube, the company says in new court papers.

Google says that not only has it implemented a new filtering system -- which combines automated screening technology with a manual review -- but that at least 20 employees have spent “hundreds” of hours trying to keep the clip off the video-sharing site. Google's statements, made in court papers filed on Saturday, come in response to actress Cindy Garcia's bid to hold the company in contempt for allegedly allowing the inflammatory video to resurface.

Last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Garcia's request for an order requiring YouTube to take down the clip. The appellate court said in its ruling that Garcia potentially has a copyright interest in her performance in the 13-minute video.

Garcia, who alleges that she was duped by the film's director, says that her five-second appearance in the film resulted in death threats against her. She asked Google to take down the film on the grounds that it infringed her copyright. When Google refused, she sued the company for copyright infringement.

A trial judge dismissed Garcia's case, but a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit reinstated the lawsuit last month, and also entered a preliminary injunction requiring Google to remove the video.

Last week, Garcia said in court papers that the clip remained available on YouTube. She said Google had “thumbed its nose” at the order and sought to hold the company in contempt.

Google said in response that it had taken taken the “unprecedented” and “technically complicated” step of implementing a new filtering system in order to remove the clip. The company adds that it has blocked access to 1,400 copies of the clip, and also “worked diligently” to prevent new uploads.

Google also says that it removed the one copy of the clip that Garcia identified in her court papers a few hours before she filed for contempt. “Garcia suggests that making “Innocence of Muslims” disappear is a “pedestrian, technical exercise” that can be accomplished instantaneously,” Google says in its court papers. “That suggestion reflects a deep lack of technical understanding and vastly underestimates the burdens involved in complying with a sweeping take-down, stay-down order on dynamic platforms.”
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