“Innocence of Muslims” actress refiles suit with added copyright claim

Cindy Lee Garcia says she never signed over her intellectual property rights to the controversial movie’s maker

If at first you don’t succeed…

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appeared in the controversial anti-Muslim film “The Innocence of Muslims” has refiled her lawsuit against the filmmaker, Google Inc. and Google-owned YouTube, just days after a judge denied her original motion.

Garcia says her involvement with the film began when she answered a casting call for a movie called “Desert Warrior.” According to her suit, neither the script nor the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, ever referenced Muslims or Islam. But when a 14-minute trailer for the film was subsequently released on YouTube, the original version had allegedly been redubbed with new dialogue that depicted Muslim prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and child molester.

The trailer ignited furor throughout much of the Middle East, including Egypt, Yemen and Libya, where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats died in an attack on the American consulate.

Garcia initially sought unspecified damages for fraud, slander and invasion of privacy, among other charges, and also asked a judge to issue an injunction that would remove the film’s trailer from YouTube. After a judge denied that motion last week, Garcia refilled the suit with an additional copyright claim.

Garcia is advancing a somewhat novel argument: that she owns a part of the copyright to the onscreen performances that she “authored,” as she never signed a release form transferring her intellectual property rights to the filmmaker. To make matters more intriguing, Garcia is also suing the hundreds of YouTube users who have reposted the trailer on the video-sharing site.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood Reporter.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of film-related lawsuits, see:

Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church’s priest sue News Corp.

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