Judge refuses to order removal of anti-Islam video from YouTube

The actress in the controversial film trailer had asked for a temporary restraining order

A judge in California refused on Thursday to order YouTube to pull down a controversial anti-Islam movie trailer that has sparked violent protests at U.S. diplomatic missions in many Middle East countries, according to a spokeswoman for the plaintiff's attorneys The Armenta Law Firm.

An actress who appears in the trailer asked the court to impose a temporary restraining order against YouTube and the person alleged to have doctored the film to give it an anti-Islam slant.

In a complaint filed Wednesday before the Superior Court of the State of California for the county of Los Angeles, Cindy Lee 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.

Bacile is alleged to have published on July 2 this year on YouTube a video entitled "The Innocence of Muslims" which had its soundtrack manipulated to make it appear that Garcia was slandering Islam and Muslim beliefs.

Garcia named Nakoula, Google, YouTube, and some as yet unnamed persons as defendants in the suit in which she claimed invasion of privacy, misappropriation of her likeness, fraud, and unfair business practices.

The video, which mocks and insults the Prophet Muhammad by depicting him as a womanizer and a killer, has triggered protests at U.S. embassies and consulates in many countries including Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens were killed last week when a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was stormed by gunmen.

Google has blocked the video in six countries including Saudi Arabia and India to meet local laws. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sudan have blocked the YouTube website after Google reportedly declined to remove the video from view in these countries.

While stating that the U.S. had nothing to do with the trailer, and that it was "disgusting and reprehensible", White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said last week that the U.S. does not and cannot stop individual citizens from expressing their views.

Google has maintained so far that the video is clearly within its guidelines and so will stay on YouTube, except for restricting access to it in countries where it has launched YouTube locally and it is notified that a video is illegal in that country.

Garcia said in her complaint that the lawsuit was not an attack on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which deals with free expression.

Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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