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Judge says anti-Muslim clip can stay on YouTube
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A 14-minute film trailer blamed for protest violence in the Middle East will remain on YouTube, after an actress lost her legal challenge to take it down.
But Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin rejected Garcia’s request because she wasn’t able to produce any agreement she had with the makers of “Innocence of Muslims” and the man behind the film hadn’t been served with a copy of her lawsuit.
The video posted to YouTube has been linked to protests that continue to rage across the Middle East. The White House has asked YouTube to take it down and the company has refused, saying it doesn’t violate its content standards.
While Thursday’s legal ruling might further antagonize protesters, the lawsuit had little chance of succeeding because of a federal law that protects third parties from liability for content they handle, legal experts said.
“From the beginning this was a Hail Mary pass,” said Jeremiah Reynolds, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in intellectual property and First Amendment cases. “I think they hoped the judge would have enough sympathy for this woman to have him take the video down.”
Garcia is suing for fraud and slander against Internet search giant Google, which owns YouTube, and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the video who has gone into hiding since it gained attention.
The 14-minute trailer depicts Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.
Garcia claimed she was duped by Nakoula and that the script she saw referenced neither Muslims nor Muhammad. She also said her voice had been dubbed over after filming.
Her lawsuit mirrors similar claims made by those who said they were fooled by actor Sacha Baron Cohen during the making of “Borat” and “Bruno.” The British comedian was unsuccessfully sued by some non-actors who appeared in his movie who weren’t familiar with his outlandish characters.
“Although this is a much more serious situation, the (legal) analysis should be the same,” Reynolds said. “It’s an act that is protected by the First Amendment.”
Garcia’s lawsuit contends that keeping the film online violates her right of publicity, invades her privacy rights and that post-filming dialogue changes cast her in a false light.
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