The actress shown in a controversial anti-Islam video has filed in federal court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Google to pull down the YouTube video.
Cindy Lee Garcia filed an ex parte application for a TRO before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Wednesday, claiming that she never assigned the rights to the copyrighted work to anyone, and was asking YouTube to remove the video as its copyright holder.
Following the global dissemination of the film by YouTube, Garcia became the subject of an Islamic ruling called fatwa issued by an Egyptian cleric to kill the director, producer, actors, and others involved in helping and promoting the video, according to the filing.
A judge in California refused in September to order YouTube to pull down the controversial anti-Islam movie trailer after Garcia filed for a TRO against YouTube and the person alleged to have doctored the film to give it an anti-Islam slant.
The trailer of the movie on YouTube sparked violent protests at U.S. diplomatic missions in many Middle East countries. In the complaint in September before the Superior Court of the State of California for the county of Los Angeles, Garcia claimed invasion of privacy, misappropriation of her likeness, fraud, and unfair business practices.
Garcia alleged that she was cast in a film titled "Desert Warrior" and that defendant Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, also known as Sam Bacile, a resident of Los Angeles county, told her that it was an adventure film about ancient Egyptians.
The case in the federal court is however predicated on a copyright claim, said her counsel M. Cris Armenta in an email on Wednesday. "Counsel for Google and YouTube informed us that they believe that Ms. Garcia does not have a copyrightable interest, or that the work was a joint work before her and Nakoula," Armenta said. "We have since informed counsel that Nakoula disavows ownership interest in the film."
Not once has the defendant Nakoula disputed that the plaintiff retained the rights to her copyrighted performance, according to the filing, which charges YouTube of not acting expeditiously to her request to remove or disable the content after a copyright claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing. Nakoula, also a defendant in the federal lawsuit, is currently detained at a Bureau of Prisons detention center in Los Angeles for unrelated reasons, according to reports.