Appeals Court Finally Agrees To Rehear Horrible Ruling Over Actress' Supposed Copyright In 'Innocence Of Muslims'

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

It’s been a while since we’d heard anything from the 9th Circuit appeals court concerning Garcia v. Google, the case in which actress Cindy Lee Garcia successfully went after Google for hosting the controversial Innocence of Muslims video on YouTube. Garcia is one of the actresses who claims she was tricked into appearing in the film, leading to death threats. Without doubt, her situation is not a great one to be in, but it doesn’t change the basics of copyright law, in which it has long been established that actors do not have a copyright interest in video and film projects they appear in… until Judge Alex Kozinski in the 9th Circuit appeals court suddenly reinterpreted decades of settled copyright law. Back in March, an unnamed judge on the court asked the court to reconsider the case, holding an “en banc” rehearing of the case with a full slate of judges (in most appeals courts en banc would be all judges, but the 9th circuit has so many judges that they limit it to Chief Judge Kozinski and 10 others). Back in April a bunch of folks — including us at Techdirt — filed amicus briefs asking the court to rehear.

And then… nothing.

Well, in July Kozinski issued an “amended” ruling which basically doubled down on the original, but added a few footnotes on how Google might be able to escape Kozinski’s own bad ruling with some other arguments at the district level.

However, this morning, the court finally announced that it will, in fact, rehear the case en banc, and that the original and amended Kozinski rulings are no longer precedent in the 9th Circuit — though the current injunction against Google does remain in place. So now we get to go through this process again. It will be some time, but expect a bunch of filings from the parties and amici and eventual oral arguments before a decision. So there’s still quite some time until this case is decided — but, for now, Kozinski’s ruling no longer is the “current” word on the matter.



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