Friday, March 07, 2014

Google Denied Stay of Order To Take Down "Innocence of Muslims", But En Banc Rehearing Is Possible

As previously reported, last month in Garcia v. Google, Inc.,  the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision held that a preliminary injunction should be granted to require the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims" to be removed from YouTube.  The decision came in a copyright suit filed by Cindy Lee Garcia who acted in a portion of the film. The decision was filed on Feb. 27, but apparently several days before the public release of the opinion the court ordered Google to take down the video.  In a Feb. 27 motion, Google sought a stay pending a petition for an en banc rehearing (full text), saying:
The Court last Wednesday issued a sealed order directing that Defendant-Appellee Google Inc. take down “all copies” of the video "‘Innocence of Muslims’ from and from any other platforms under Google’s control" and that Google "take all reasonable steps to prevent further uploads of ‘Innocence of Muslims’ to those platforms." Google has complied with the Court’s order, but in light of the intense public interest in and debate surrounding the video, the video should remain accessible while Google seeks further review.
In an Order (full text) issued Feb. 28, the court denied a stay and ordered Google to comply with the take down mandate within 24 hours, but added that "this order does not preclude the posting or display of any version of “Innocence of Muslims” that does not include Cindy Lee Garcia’s performance."

In the latest development, yesterday the court issued an Order (full text) stating that one judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear en banc the request for a stay. The court gave the parties until March 12 to file briefs on whether an en banc rehearing should be granted. [Thanks to Edward Lee via CyberProf listserv for the lead.]