Recently ordered to scrub all uploads of the “Innocence of Muslims” video from YouTube by a U.S. appeals court against Google’s argument to keep the video up in the name of free speech and “constitutional freedoms,” the Silicon Valley operator of the world’s biggest online video platform has at least been granted a small concession yesterday.
A federal appellate court has ruled that Google may now stream uploads of the “Innocence of Muslims” video as long as footage of actress Cindy Lee Garcia is edited out of any new versions. Garcia filed a federal suit to have all instances of the 14-minute video removed from YouTube because she alleged that the director of the movie had misused her image — the earlier decision to have the video removed basically established that a person’s image in a filmed work is independently copyrightable — in the film. Garcia also claimed that she was misled into appearing in the anti-Muslim film trailer and that she had lost her job and received death threats over her five seconds of screen time in the video.
Before this most recent ruling, it was heavily speculated that the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority would finally lift its nearly two-year ban of YouTube in the almost exclusively Muslim-populated country. After the appeals court ruling to have the videos removed, Pakistani rights groups had lobbied the government to restore citizens’ access to the video-sharing site. It is not clear now whether the new decision to allow edited versions of “Innocence of Muslims” will decrease the odds of the YouTube ban being lifted. The Pakistani Telecommunication Authority has been in talks with Google for years trying to negotiate for a version of the YouTube platform that would allow the government to remove content that they found objectionable.
NMR has reached out to YouTube for more information and will update as necessary.