You might remember in 2012 that a trailer for a “movie” called The Innocence of Muslims, written and directed by a meth cook, hit the Internet and promptly set off a ridiculous chain of events that led to massive protests in the Middle East. The fallout from this mess is enormous for everyone involved, including actress Cindy Lee Garcia… who’s suing Google for failing to remove the film from the Internet, thereby erasing her having played any part in its making.
You might be wondering if Garcia’s suit has any merit and, in fact, it does. In the wake of the whole mess, Garcia actually obtained the copyright to her performance, and not unreasonably is trying to get rid of the video entirely. She’s having a small problem, though, according to CNET:
Garcia…claims Google violated an order issued last month that required the film’s removal from YouTube and all other Google platforms within 24 hours. The motion requests Google post a bond of up to $150,000 for each of the 852 links identified in Garcia’s initial takedown notice, about $128 million. Tuesday’s motion alleges that Google has made little effort to comply with the order, choosing instead to disable just a few copies that contain infringing content and replace them with a “snide message” about the takedown.
We’re not out of sympathy with Garcia, here, because she, and the entire cast, got screwed. They had new lines dubbed over what they were told to read in post-production, and it’s obviously not exactly been great for those cast members since. There have been death threats, financial problems, career issues and, oh yeah, crushing personal humiliation. Garcia wasn’t even one of the leads: She was in this thing for a whole five seconds.
On the other hand, the suit doesn’t seem to understand how the removal system works. As we’ve gone into before, Google generally requires the copyright holder to submit the links themselves. Which is why movie studios use automated systems to just flood Google with takedown notices, even if the content has nothing to do with their copyright.
And there’s a limit to what Google can do. They can take down anything marked, say, “Innocence of Muslims”, but if the video is uploaded with the title “LOL I’m Bigoted”, there’s not much they can do. They’re working on technology to fix this, of course, but until then, Google has to rely on human stupidity.
In other words, Garcia is pretty much completely screwed, and an honest mistake will haunt her for the rest of her life. Welcome to the twenty-first century!