UPDATED: Google Files Emergency Motion To Stop Censorship Ruling Over 'Innocence Of Muslims', Is Denied

from the stop-the-insanity dept

Update: And... the motion has been denied with little explanation (pdf link). We'll bring more analysis if/when we get more information.

As was fully expected, Google has quickly filed an "emergency motion for a stay" on the horrific 9th Circuit ruling that the company needed to take down all copies of the Innocence of Muslims film and block it from being re-uploaded anywhere. Google has made it clear that it will fight this decision, starting with asking the 9th Circuit for an en banc rehearing (appeals court cases are normally heard with 3 judges -- an en banc hearing, if the court agrees to hear it -- includes a larger slate of judges (in the 9th Circuit, it is almost always 11 judges, though in theory it could be all 29).

Appeals courts don't often grant requests for en banc hearings and, as such, often don't grant stays (basically holding off enforcing the order). However, with this case generating so much attention (and condemnation), hopefully enough of the judges in the 9th Circuit agree that it's worth rethinking Judge Kozinski's order.

Google's motion lays out the basic argument, highlighting that the ruling simply invents new law and ignores precedents that the court is bound by. It also highlights how the ruling seems to get some rather basic issues flat out wrong. Furthermore, it highlights that there is real harm from the censorship imposed by the ruling, while leaving the video up for a little more time is unlikely to create any additional harm (if it ever created any harm in the first place).
The panel majority's takedown order contravenes Circuit law by imposing a mandatory injunction—an injunction gagging speech, no less—even though the majority found the merits “fairly debatable.” ... The majority's novel copyright analysis is wrong on several fronts, creates splits in the Ninth Circuit, and will produce devastating effects: Under the panel's rule, minor players in everything from Hollywood films to home videos can wrest control of those works from their creators, and service providers like YouTube will lack the ability to determine who has a valid copyright claim. And absent a stay, Google, YouTube, and the public face irreparable harm because the panel's order will gag their speech and limit access to newsworthy documents—categorically irreparable injuries.
The full filing certainly highlights the likely arguments that Google is hoping to make should the court agree to an en banc hearing or, barring that, in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Filed Under: alex kozinski, copyright, first amendment, free speech, innocence of muslims
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Simple, 28 Feb 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    I think you are correct. The question isn't one of free speech, rather this one goes back to the basic contract law and perhaps the false pretenses under which the actress was hired.

    The ruling is that the actress has not given consent for her performance to be used in the movie, and as a result, she holds the copyright for it. So she has standing to ask for it's removal from YouTube.

    Google has really no standing here. It would be up to the film maker to argue ownership and rights of the film, but the convicted fraud artist isn't doing it. Google's argument is that someone who has legal standing should not have the right to issue a DMCA. This is a case where Google will lose all day long.

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