‘Innocence of Muslims’ Actress Unlikely to Appeal to Supreme Court

The attorney for Cindy Lee Garcia, the actress who sued Google to try to force YouTube to take down the “Innocence of Muslims” video, is unlikely to appeal a 9th Circuit decision reversing an earlier court victory.

Nevertheless, Cris Armenta, who has represented Garcia ever since she first sued in the aftermath of Muslim protests over the video, said in a statement issued by her law firm that some of her client’s objectives have been achieved.

“She has successfully distanced herself and made clear to the world that she had no prior knowledge of the content of the film in an effort to dissuade those who would otherwise follow through on threats to do her or her family harm,” Armenta’s statement said.

On Monday, an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit reversed an earlier appellate ruling. The new ruling concluded that Garcia’s performance in the project did not give her a copyright claim to the video. Garcia had sought a preliminary injunction on YouTube’s posting of the video, arguing that, as a copyright holder, she never gave permission.

“The 9th Circuit has now artificially shrunk rights that Congress gave copyright authors, performances and that the First Amendment requires that the controversial trailer stay up on the Internet because of its political significance,” Armenta’s statement said.

Garcia said that she thought she was doing a different project when she appeared in the video, but that her performance was instead dubbed over with inflammatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed.

Armenta noted that they have been able to take depositions of producer Nakoula Basselley Nakoula, aka San Bacile, and obtained thousands of documents that identify his source of funding. She said that the information will be released publicly, and that it already has been shared with unidentified sources as a security measure. She also said that they have asked the FBI to investigate computer hacking incidents as they have pursued the case.

In the days after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, media reports were that the violence was motivated by protests over the video. Since then, however, the attacks were reported to have been premeditated.

Garcia has 90 days to decide whether to petition to the Supreme Court, but given her financial resources, “her strong respect and belief in the First Amendment and the desire to put this matter to a rest,” such a petition is unlikely, her attorney said.


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