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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. appeals court ordered YouTube on Wednesday to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violent riots in parts of the Middle East and death threats to the actors.
The decision by a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco reinstated a lawsuit filed against YouTube by an actress who appeared briefly in the 2012 video that led to rioting and deaths because of its negative portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
YouTube resisted calls by President Obama and other world leaders to take down the video, arguing that to do so amounted to unwarranted government censorship and would violate the Google-owned company’s free speech protections. Besides, 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.