A US actress has filed a lawsuit in federal court, against YouTube and the makers of The Innocence of Muslims. Cindy Lee Garcia was one of the actors in the controversial anti Islam movie, which has sparked violence and riots in the Middle East and North Africa. The movie has been at the centre of renewed debate about freedom of expression and Garcia has been trying to force YouTube to remove the video from its site.
Last week, Garcia failed in her attempt to convince a California state court judge to order the video to be removed. Undeterred, the actress has now taken her case to the federal court, where she will need to prove that actors are entitled to a share of a film’s copyright, The Hollywood Reporter have stated. If she’s successful, she will make history. In addition to her attempts to sue YouTube over its insistence on retaining the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video online, at the behest of one of its copyright holders (i.e. her), she is also suing the “hundreds of individuals” who have re-posted the video on the site.
Garcia’s case is a unique one. Normally, actors will sign a waiver, preventing them from “seeking injunctive relief to stop the distribution and exhibition of a film.” Cris Armenta, acting as Garcia’s lawyer, insists that in this instance, no such form was signed by his client. If she wants to be successful in her case, however, she will need to prove to the court why an acting performance is copyrightable and this, if she’s triumphant, will be something of a legal breakthrough.
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