An actress who claims she was duped into appearing in an anti-Islam film that sparked protests in the Middle East filed suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Wednesday requesting that the film be removed from YouTube [media website]. Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appeared in the film Innocence of Muslims [BBC backgrounder], brought claims of fraud, libel, unfair business practices and copyright infringement [Reuters report] against the film's producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (d/b/a Sam Bacile), as well as YouTube parent company Google [corporate website]. In the lawsuit, Garcia contends [Hollywood Reporter report] that actresses are entitled to part of the copyright when they appear in a film. Although Innocence of Muslims is a spoof film, its characterization of the Prophet Mohammed as a fool and womanizer incited a rapid and violent uprising in the Middle East, including an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left US Ambassador Christopher Stevens [WP obituary] and three other Americans dead. It is not yet clear when the district court will rule on Garcia's lawsuit.
Last week a judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court [official website] denied Garcia's request [JURIST report] for a temporary restraining order to remove the film from YouTube. Earlier that week UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai [official website] condemned the recent violence [JURIST report] that erupted after the film's release. Kiai stated that protests and rallies must be peaceful to be protected by international human rights law and urged the Middle East states to prosecute those responsible for the violence. Last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] urged religious and political leaders [JURIST report] to encourage an end to the violence that followed the release of the film. While Pillay said she "fully understand[s] why people wish to protest strongly against" the film, she "utterly condemn[s]" the violence that has resulted from the protests. Also last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official website] declared that the US had nothing to do with the anti-Muslim film [Reuters report] despite its apparent production in America, in turn labeling it disgusting and reprehensible.