Ninth Circuit Holds Actor Has No Copyright in Her Performance
Robert J. Bernstein and Robert W. Clarida, New York Law Journal
In their Copyright Law column, Robert J. Bernstein and Robert W. Clarida discuss Cindy Lee Garcia’s attempt to have “The Innocence of Muslims,” which contains blasphemous statements dubbed over her actual words, removed from YouTube, and the Ninth Circuit’s en banc holding that an actor’s performance in a motion picture is not separately copyrightable, but instead is merged into the copyright for a film.
If I remember correctly, the offensive and phony film (incomplete, if I also remember: the “filmmakers,” Muslim antagonists and deliberate provocateurs–are they related to Pamela Geller?--never completed their opus; it was left as a sort of teaser/trailer) named in this case was the one that put a match to Libyan outrage which inspired the mobs who attacked the Benghazi American compound and killed our ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and several other Americans.
In other words, this film is an explicit abettor of the attack and the subsequent Republican-invented scandal.
Yet the young woman who appeared in it, but whose lines were, unbeknownst to her, overdubbed with statements consciously constructed to offend Muslims, can’t get herself disentangled from the film, according to the Ninth Circuit (federal appellate division in San Francisco).
Although I do see the Circuit’s judicial point, how does it help this young woman? What is she supposed to do?