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On December 15, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sat en banc to rehear the panel decision in Garcia v. Google — a copyright claim by actress Cindy Lee Garcia regarding her performance in the low-budget anti-Muslim film, “Innocence of Muslims.” Previously, a divided three-judge panel agreed with Garcia that she had a copyright claim separate and apart from the filmmakers’ copyright in the film. The final outcome may have significant consequences for both performers and media companies. The risk is particularly high for new media ventures that may lack the sophisticated legal agreements between actors and producers that have long been a staple of the media industry. Thus, burgeoning media companies and performers waiting for the 9th Circuit’s decision should act now to protect themselves, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
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