Update: I’ve received some new input that I’ve appended to the end of the article.
I have nothing but the greatest sympathy for Cindy Lee Garcia. According to her, filmmaker Mark Basseley Youssef lied to her about what film she was going to be in, saying it was an action film dubbed “Desert Warrior”, the director then took her footage, redubbed her dialog and put her in the controversial trailer for the film “The Innocence of Muslims”.
The 14-minute trailer became the subject of international scrutiny in 2012 as violence broke out in Muslim countries over the film and its inflammatory content. All of the people involved in the film, including Garcia herself, were threatened, ridiculed and pushed into a major public controversy, one that Garcia never agreed to be in.
But as sympathetic as her story is, the recent ruling in her favor is not only wrong-headed, but potentially dangerous. It’s earned strong criticism from nearly everyone involved in copyright, regardless of their political leanings, and, fortunately, is not likely to survive further challenges.
Still, the ruling has turned what was previously a novelty case, an uninteresting side copyright case about a major international news story, into a potential bombshell that could have major repercussions for all rightsholders, especially those who work in film and photography.Continue Reading