9th Circuit Reversal Holds the Line on Copyright and the First Amendment

While it may have been for all the wrong reasons - defending Youtube's right to continue posting the inflammatory anti-Islamic Innocence of Muslims - the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made the right call in reversing an earlier decision finding that an injunction filed by actress Cindy Garcia was valid because her performance in the film (she appears for 5 seconds) was independently copyrightable.  Ms. Garcia's position was not enviable.  She claims her original lines were dubbed over with hateful speech, and that she had no knowledge of the film's intended message during shooting.  Upon release in 2012, she and other cast members began receiving death threats.  Still, upholding her injunction would have shaken the foundation of the entertainment industry, where the age-old norm holds that copyright ownership remains with the filmmaker, and is not divided amongst the actors and other creative contributors.  The new precedent set by the injunction would fly directly in the face of the Copyright Act's "work-for-hire" provisions, which is essentially what the court found in its rehearing.  A related dissent from one 9th Circuit Judge also highlights the troubling free speech implications of barring access to a film for over a year solely due to its content.  Read more here: http://www.wired.com/2015/05/court-ruling-stark-reminder-image-isnt/