“While answering a casting call for a low-budget amateur film doesn’t often lead to stardom, it also rarely turns an aspiring actress into the subject of a fatwa,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the panel. “But that’s exactly what happened to Cindy Lee Garcia when she agreed to act in a film with the working title 'Desert Warrior'."
The panel ruled that Garcia potentially had a copyright interest in the film, and ordered Google to take down the clip pending a trial. That ruling, issued by Kozinski, hinged partially on the belief that the director tricked Garcia. He wrote at the time that although Garcia had assigned all her copyrights to the film's director, he lied to Garcia, which likely voided any agreement between the two of them.
In 2012, when Garcia initially demanded that Google remove the clip, she said she received death threats as a result of her five-second appearance in the film. She also said that her dialogue was dubbed to make it appear as if she were uttering highly offensive remarks.
Now the director has come forward to dispute some of Garcia's allegations -- including her key claims that her dialogue was dubbed. In a written answer to Garcia's complaint, Mark B. Youssef says that Garcia's words “came from her voice and were never changed.”
He also says that all of the actors' contracts, including Garcia's, allowed the producer to make any changes without prior approval. He filed his answer last week in federal district court in Los Angeles. (One reason for the late filing could be that Youssef was ordered jailed in 2012, for violating probation stemming from a bank-fraud conviction.)
The 9th Circuit's takedown order shocked many online publishers as well as the entertainment industry, given that the decision appears to empower anyone who appears in a video to demand that it be removed. Google has asked the entire 9th Circuit to rehear the case, but the court hasn't yet ruled on that request.