Right of Publicity: ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Actress Sues Producer, YouTube

This is a very interesting lawsuit because of the implication it has on the life of the Plaintiff suing as well as her image and reputation. A couple of things:

1. I have talked about Right of Publicity before. See link in this post and the video clip below to find out what it is all about.

2. As a talent (actors, actresses, models, musicians etc.), when you sign up for work and what was promised in exchange for your performances is  significantly different from what is delivered in a way that harms you, you shouldn’t sit on your rights. You should sue. Here, the Plaintiff says no one ever told her that her image, voice and likeness would be used the way it has. Over 30persons have been killed as a result of the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video. So, it is definitely worth her fighting for a removal of the video from Google/Youtube and the wrongful use of her image.

However, the court so far is refusing to grant her request, at this stage.

3. Finally, notice she gets around the First Amendment issues by invoking the ‘Right of Publicity’ claim. In the Lindsay Lohan case against Pitbull, I discussed the interesting and increasing tension between Right of Publicity and the First Amendment. Which one trumps when both are sitting side by side in a court of law?

THR Esq. Reports: 

“Innocence of Muslims, the controversial film that has sparked uproar across the Middle East for disparaging Muslims, has erupted into lawsuit.

Cindy Lee Garcia, one of the actresses in the film, has filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against the film’s producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (aka Sam Bacile), alleging that she was duped into appearing. She’s suing because the producers have allegedly violated her likeness and participated in fraud and unfair business practices.
In addition, Garcia is going after YouTube and its owner Google, after the video-sharing site refused to take down the film. She says she advised YouTube that the video contained unauthorized use of her image, but that the video wasn’t taken down.

She’s seeking a permanent injunction to remove the video from YouTube. According to the complaint, “The lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment or the right of Americans to say what they think. .  . “

THResq. has the full story.

Watch an interview I conducted last year before I began working for Ebitu Law Group, P.C. on ‘Right of Publicity.

Tiwtter: @uduaklaw
Photocredit: Thenewstribe.com/CC Image