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Actress in anti-Islam film seeks sanctions against Google

Actress who won a court decision ordering the removal of controversial film seeks contempt of court ruling against the Web giant for allegedly failing to comply with the order.


The actress who won a controversial decision last month that ordered Google to remove an anti-Islamic film from YouTube is now seeking sanctions, saying the Web giant has failed to remove the video from servers in a timely fashion.

Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the controversial "Innocence of the Muslims," filed an emergency motion for contempt of court (PDF) Tuesday that claims Google violated an order issued last month that required the film's removal from YouTube and all other Google platforms within 24 hours. The motion requests Google post a bond of up to $150,000 for each of the 852 links identified in Garcia's initial takedown notice, about $128 million.

The 14-minute video has incited international outrage and sparked protests around the world. Garcia said she'd received death threats and had suffered "irreparable harm." Garcia, who obtained a copyright of her performance in the film, asserted that she had been hired to act in a different film and that the footage was used in a movie that was unrecognizable as the one she originally signed on to do.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Google to remove copies of the video from its servers in February, finding the film did not constitute a prior restraint on speech -- Google's argument for initially refusing to remove it.

Tuesday's motion alleges that Google has made little effort to comply with the order, choosing instead to disable just a few copies that contain infringing content and replace them with a "snide message" about the takedown that says: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by an actress over her 5-second appearance in the video. A U.S. court has ordered Google to remove the video. We strongly disagree with this copyright ruling and will fight it."

Garcia's motion claims that Google has taken the position that it is incapable of complying with the order and that it is trying to transfer to her the burden of identifying links that may be in violation of the order.

"This Court should not allow Google to continue to flagrantly defy its order without some corresponding consequences," says the motion. "As is clear from Google's near-total disregard of the order and its ridiculing of the Court's authority, Google is thumbing its nose at the Court and making a mockery of our judicial system in an apparent attempt to encourage the public to blame and harass Ms. Garcia and to continue to use the infringing content to generate YouTube revenues from traffic directed through the 852 URLs that have illegally posted the content."

CNET has contacted Google for comment and will update this report when we learn more.