The film the White House tried to blame the Benghazi attacks on.
Google Inc should not have to remove an anti-Islamic film from its YouTube website because a woman complained that she was duped into performing in the film that depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a pedophile, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.
In a case widely followed for its potential impact on the entertainment industry, an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said an injunction prohibiting Google from broadcasting the film should be lifted.
A three-judge panel had ordered Google to remove the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims.” Billed as a trailer, it triggered anti-American sentiment among Muslims in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in 2012.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.
Protests over the film coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
The court said in its ruling that, “The film, featuring a crude production, depicts the Prophet Mohammed as, among other things, a murderer, pedophile, and homosexual.”
The plaintiff, actress Cindy Lee Garcia, objected to the film after learning it incorporated a clip she made for a different movie. According to the ruling, “Film producers dubbed over Garcia’s lines and replaced them with a voice asking, ‘Is your Mohammed a child molester?'”
The case raised questions about whether actors may, in certain circumstances, have an independent copyright on their individual performances.
The 9th Circuit said Garcia’s argument “would enable any contributor from a costume designer to an extra to claim copyright in random bits and pieces” of a movie.