YouTube should not have been forced to take down ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film that allegedly sparked violence in the Middle East and death threats to actors, a federal appeals court ruled in a victory for free speech advocates.
660News The uber-liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal sided with Google, which owns YouTube, after free speech advocates urged the court to overturn a 2-1 decision by three of its judges. The three judges had ordered YouTube to take down the video.
The film inspired rioting by those who considered it blasphemous to the Prophet Muhammad and President Barack Obama and other world leaders asked Google to take it down.
Google, which said those requests amounted to censorship, was joined by an unusual alliance of filmmakers, other Internet companies and prominent news media organizations that didn’t want the court to alter copyright law or infringe on First Amendment rights.
The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal sided with Google, which owns YouTube, saying the previous decision by a three-member panel of the same court gave “short shrift” to the First Amendment and constituted prior restraint — a prohibition on free speech before it takes place.
“The mandatory injunction censored and suppressed a politically significant film — based upon a dubious and unprecedented theory of copyright,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in an opinion joined by nine other judges. “In so doing, the panel deprived the public of the ability to view firsthand, and judge for themselves, a film at the center of an international uproar.”