Today, the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc opinion in Google v. Garcia, reversed itself and upheld a lower court’s decision to deny actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s request for an injunction barring YouTube or any other Google website from hosting a trailer for the controversial film Innocence of Muslims, in which Garcia appears for five seconds.
The following can be attributed to Raza Panjwani, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“The Ninth Circuit’s en banc decision against granting an injunction in this case is a victory for free speech and the First Amendment. Copyright law is deliberately limited in its scope because its protections come at the expense of limiting the public’s freedom of speech.
“In the case of controversial expression, like the trailer for Innocence of Muslims, copyright law should not trump the public’s right to discuss, criticize, or comment or report on that expression. The Circuit’s earlier decision failed to respect the First Amendment protections protected by Copyright law’s carefully balanced and well-established boundaries by ordering the removal of all instances of the video from YouTube, on the basis of a brief appearance by an individual without a clearly established copyright interest in the performance.
“Although Ms. Garcia has legitimate concerns and grievances, copyright law is not the appropriate remedy for them. Today’s decision restores the balance between copyright and free expression while still leaving Ms. Garcia with recourse to pursue her case under other theories of law.”
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