legal movies

A federal appeals court in California has ruled that YouTube has the legal right to publish an anti-Muslim video on its site. The court ruled that it was wrong for a lower court to force the Google-owned video publisher to censor the film. The decision is being hailed as a victory by freedom of speech advocates.

The video was blamed for inciting Middle East violence. An actor in the video also received death threats.

The appeal decision was made by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. Freedom of speech advocates supported Google in the suit, claiming that the court should rule in favor of Google and overturn a previous ruling by a 9th Circuit panel, which forced the removal of the video.

Actress Received Death Threats

The film, called "Innocence of Muslims," resulted in death threats to one of its actresses, Cindy Lee Garcia. Garcia asked to have the video deleted from the website. According to her lawyer, the actress did not know she was acting in such a film and therefore she has a claim to its copyright. Google, on the other hand, argued that the actress has no copyright claims because she did not write the dialogue, she did not manage the production and her lines were dubbed over.

Freedom of speech is a civil right that is governed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits laws that hinder the establishment of religions, laws that inhibit the practice of religion, laws that hinder freedom of speech, laws that hamper freedom of the press, and laws that prevent peaceful assembly. That said, if an individual has intellectual property rights over a certain piece of information or media, he or she can prevent it from being distributed -- hence the actress' arguments in this case.

Should Google Republish the Video?

In spite of Google's victory, it is still unknown if YouTube will put the movie back on its website. It appears that the actress' desire to censor the video from YouTube was born out of her fear of death threats in this case. Given this concern, do you think that Google should publish the video or not?