An appellate panel has cleared Google of contempt charges stemming from allegations that it allowed “Innocence of Muslims” to reappear on YouTube.
The three-judge panel didn't give any reason for its one-sentence order, which states only that the motion to hold Google in contempt is denied. The order, issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, resolves a motion filed last week by actress Cindy Lee Garcia. She accused Google of “thumbing its nose” at a court order requiring it to take down copies of the inflammatory clip.
Garcia argued that Google wasn't doing enough to police YouTube for uploads of the clip, which she says infringes her copyright in her performance in the 13-minute film. Garcia alleged that the clip was still available to people who adjusted their settings to make it appear as if they were accessing YouTube from Egypt. She sought damages of $150,000 per alleged violation of the order.
Google countered in court papers filed on Saturday that it had made “painstaking” efforts to take down the cilp and prevent new uploads.
The panel's order clearing Google of contempt ends this particular skirmish, but not the larger fight over the original takedown order. Google has asked the entire 9th Circuit to rehear the case, arguing that Garcia has no valid copyright interest in the clip. The company also says that the order was an improper “prior restraint” -- or restriction on speech issued before there has been a trial.