NY Times, LA Times, NPR, other liberal media defend Innocence of Muslims video just hours after Islamists executed twelve Charlie Hebdo employees in Paris.
Click here to send email if you have not already done so to urge appellate court judges to affirm the First Amendment by not censoring Google in en banc ruling.
Just hours after Islamists executed twelve Charlie Hebdo employees in France because of the newspaper’s cartoon portrayal of Muhammad numerous liberal media organizations filed a joint amicus brief in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals defending Google’s right to post the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims on Youtube.com. This extraordinary event has gone unnoticed in the mainstream media based on this Google search.
The Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, The E.W. Scripps Company, Advance Publications, Inc., The New York Times Company, The Washington Post, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, National Public Radio, Inc., the National Press Photographers Association, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and the First Amendment Coalition (collectively “Media Amici”) filed an amicus brief on January 7, 2015 which stated in part:
Amici urge this Court to overturn the Panel Majority’s decision, which orders a website to suppress a controversial video that has been the subject of widespread discussion over the last two years…
The injunction here, which aims to suppress a newsworthy video based on speculative fears about the hostile reaction of violent extremists to its anti-Islamic message, cannot survive such constitutional scrutiny.
Allowing the Appellant to obtain a copyright injunction by asserting damages that arise from tortious conduct, such as alleged safety concerns, would provide plaintiffs with a powerful, unprecedented tool for evading traditional First Amendment protections. News organizations like Media Amici would be particularly susceptible to such claims by individuals aiming to silence critical reporting on important topics.
The full amicus brief is posted here.
On January 7, 2015, at about 11:30 am CET, two heavily armed Islamists forced their way into the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. The Islamists killed twelve people in that office because of the Sharia law command to destroy anyone who defames Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo has attracted international attention, death threats and prior assaults for its cartoon depictions of Muhammad.
On January 7, 2015, at the earliest of 8:30 am PT, attorneys filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of numerous liberal news organizations with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that defended Google’s right to post the controversial video Innocence of Muslims at Youtube.com. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opened their offices six hours AFTER the Islamist attack in Paris. Therefore, attorneys filed the amicus brief for the liberal news organizations no sooner than six hours after the Islamist massacre took place in France.
The timing of the filing of this brief and the principles expressed in it could are extraordinary given parties.
These media organizations (belatedly) filed the amicus brief after the majority of the 9th US Circuit Court justices voted on November 12, 2014 to rehear a three judge panel ruling in which Chief Judge Alex Kozinski considered a Sharia fatwa and untested copyright ruling as a legal basis for banning the Innocence of Muslims video from the Youtube.com
9th US Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote the opinion for the (2 to 1) panel ruling which stated in part:
While answering a casting call for a low-budget amateur film doesn’t often lead to stardom, it also rarely turns an aspiring actress into the subject of a fatwa. But that’s exactly what happened to Cindy Lee Garcia when she agreed to act in a film with the working title “Desert Warrior.”
These, of course, are fighting words to many faithful Muslims and, after the film aired on Egyptian television, there were protests that generated worldwide news coverage. An Egyptian cleric issued a fatwa, calling for the killing of everyone involved with the film, and Garcia soon began receiving death threats. She responded by taking a number of security precautions and asking that Google remove the video from YouTube.
There’s nothing in the record to suggest that Youssef was in the “regular business” of making films. Reid, 490 U.S. at 752. He’d held many jobs, but there’s no indication he ever worked in the film industry. And there’s no evidence he had any union contracts, relationships with prop houses or other film suppliers, leases of studio space or distribution agreements. The dissent would hold that Youssef was in the “regular business” of filmmaking simply because he made “Innocence of Muslims.” But if shooting a single amateur film amounts to the regular business of filmmaking, every schmuck with a video camera becomes a movie mogul.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion which references the fatwa against Garcia essentially elevates the Sharia law command to censor blasphemy of Muhammad over the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This lawsuit would never have happened were it not for the fatwa issued by the Egyptian Imam that ordered the killing of anyone involved in the production of “Innocence of Muslims.” Garcia did not take legal action until six months after the video was released. The fatwa is the potential “irreparable harm,” one of four factors required for a restraining order, sited in the appellate court’s opinion for the basis of ordering Google to remove “Innocence of Muslims” from YouTube. Any restraining order should be focused on the Islamists who want to kill Americans not on Americans who want to exercise their First Amendment Rights.
Additionally, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion prejudicially determines who serious producers are and who are not and elevates the copyrights of “aspiring actresses” over first time producers. Judge Kozinski’s opinion erroneously discounts the fact that Youseff, the film’s producer paid Garcia, the actress, $500 for her video footage at issue. Judge Kozinski’s opinion prejudicially establishes that copyrights for amateurs and professionals are different when the court should be establishing equity.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion could empower Islamists to focus their angst against more actors in videos and perhaps people in photos with the goal of influencing them to demand removal of the same from movies, website posts or blog posts. The Council on American Islamic Relations' censorship of American films has been robust lately. CAIR recently boasted: CAIR has challenged actual and potential anti-Muslim stereotypes in productions such as ABC Family network's "Alice in Arabia," "Executive Decision," "24," "The Siege," "True Lies," "Rules of Engagement," "Obsession," "The Third Jihad," "Jihad in America," and "The Sum of All Fears."
Florida Family Association has been closely monitoring the appeal of Garcia vs. Google to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is encouraging people to send emails to urge the justices to uphold Google’s First Amendment right to post Innocence of Muslims. The full history on this issue is posted here at Floridafamily.org.
23,253 people have sent emails through Floridafamily.org to urge the justices to uphold the First Amendment and not concede to Islamist threats to censor the video.
Click here if you would like to send an email urging the justices on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Google’s right to post Innocence of Muslims at Youtube.com.
For contact information on all of the judges please click here.
To follow this case at the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and/or read similar Amicus Briefs click here.