‘Innocence of Muslims’ Case Dismissed at Joint Request of Google, Actress

Cindy Lee Garcia and the online media giant agree to drop the controversial copyright case and pay for their own legal fees

The legal tempest that blew when an actress in an anti-Islamic video called “Innocence of Muslims” sued to block its online dissemination has ended in a whimper.

“Based on the parties’ Stipulation for Dismissal of Action, the Court hereby dismisses this action with prejudice, with each party to bear its own fees and costs,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote in an order issued Monday.

Fitzgerald’s order follows a filing on Friday by actress Cindy Lee Garcia as well as defendants Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Google and YouTube to end a legal drama that had dragged on for more than two years and led to major concerns about copyright and the obligations of networks and online distributors.

The dismissal comes one month after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a preliminary injunction that had called for Google-owned YouTube to remove the offensive short film.

Garcia had objected to the posting of the 14-minute film after learning it incorporated a clip she had made for a different movie that had been partially dubbed and in which she appeared to be asking: “Is your Mohammed a child molester?”

Garcia claimed that she had received death threats as a result of the online release of the film, which sparked outrage across the Middle East and coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The case had been closely followed in Hollywood, as it pitted the copyrights of performers against the First Amendment rights of Google and other online content providers. Had Garcia’s position been upheld, it would in theory give individuals more power in determining how material they appeared in was marketed and sold.

SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity and the American Federation of Musicians backed Garcia in court filings. Google’s received similar support from Twitter, Netflix and the ACLU, and Monday’s ruling was a victory for the online providers.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.