A U.S. appeals court has ordered Google to remove an anti-Muslim film from its video-sharing website YouTube.
The film, Innocence of Muslims, has incited international outrage and sparked protests around the world because of its negative portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad. Its appearance online coincided with the September 2012 an attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court in San Francisco reinstates a lawsuit filed against YouTube by an actress who sought its removal. She claimed she was tricked into appearing in the film, without knowing of its anti-Muslim slant, and has received death threats because of her work.
The court said a trial judge erred when he refused to grant an injunction ordering the removal of the film.
YouTube had resisted calls by President Barack Obama and other world leaders to take down the video, arguing that to do so amounted to unwarranted government censorship.
The company argued that the filmmakers and not the actors of Innocence of Muslims owned the copyright and only they could remove it from YouTube.
But the appeals court said in this case the actress retained a copyright claim that YouTube must respect because she believed she was acting in a different production from the one that ultimately appeared online.