The Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited en banc opinion in the case, Garcia v. Google, this week, and the decision is generally a big win for advocates of free speech. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit had previously enjoined YouTube from hosting the controversial Innocence of Muslims video, which received worldwide attention in September 2012 for its disparaging remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Plaintiff Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appeared in Innocence of Muslims, claimed a copyright interest in the film based on her performance and used that purported copyright as grounds to demand YouTube remove the video.
Andy Sellars of the Clinic offers his analysis of the decision in BetaBoston, describing the legal and factual background of the case and exploring the interplay between copyright protection and free expression:
Today, thankfully, the court put copyright back in its proper place and noted what a profound overreach the initial decision was. As the court today puts it, a “weak copyright claim cannot justify censorship in the guise of authorship.”
A further appeal to the United States Supreme Court is possible, but Garcia’s lawyers have suggested it is unlikely.