Behind the Scenes
Last weekend, I reported on the protest brouhaha which an anti-Islamic video film that trailered on YouTube had sparked in the Muslim world.

Well, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – the 55-year-old filmmaker allegedly responsible for the film “Innocence of Muslims” – has been jailed in a Los Angeles court, for violating terms of his parole.

Nakoula (who was credited as Sam Bacile in the production notes) appeared in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday afternoon, where Judge Suzanne H. Segal cited a “lengthy pattern of deception,” which included lying to parole officials.

Judge Segal maintained that, “The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time,” adding that Nakoula posed “some danger to the community.”

Earlier in the day, Reuters news agency had reported that the arrest was confirmed by a court spokesman, who said Nokoula would later face a bail hearing with regard to an ongoing investigation into whether he violated the terms of his 2011 release from prison on a bank fraud conviction.

The parole terms barred Nakoula from “accessing the Internet or using aliases without the permission of a probation officer,” according to Reuters.

An Egypt-born California resident with a long and colorful criminal history, Nakoula has allegedly operated under at least 13 separate aliases associated with various illicit activities, including Ahmed Hamdy, Daniel K. Caresman, Kritbag Difrat and P.J. Tobacco.

He could very well need a few more.

Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has offered $100,000 to anyone who kills the man who made the low-budget anti-Islam film.

Mr Bilour is a member of the Awami National Party (ANP), a secular Pashtun nationalist party based in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province that is a key ally of President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Bilour said his decision to offer the bounty for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was purely a personal one, and had nothing to do with either his party or the government.

The Pakistani government is yet to comment on Mr Bilour’s statement, but will be hard-pressed to prosecute him because it could antagonize his ANP party.

If Zardari’s PPP-led federal government were to sack Mr Bilour, it could lead to the collapse of their coalition government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and further weaken the federal government, which holds a minority of seats in parliament.

Meanwhile, Cindy Lee Garcia – the actress who last week sued the makers of the film, Google, and YouTube over matters of misrepresentation of her work – on Wednesday took her case to a federal court.

Unsuccessful last week in getting a California state court judge to order YouTube to take down the controversial film, Garcia refiled her case in federal court, asserting even more claims than she did the first time around.

According to Garcia’s lawyer, she is now asserting copyright claims – on top of fraud, unfair business practices and libel, among other causes of action.

In doing so, Garcia aims to make history.

She wants to prove that actors are entitled to a piece of the copyright when “authoring” their performances on film.

In addition, she continues to fight YouTube, this time asserting that the video-sharing giant cannot lean on the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it failed to expeditiously remove the video at the behest of a copyright owner – namely, her.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Garcia is also suing the individuals who have reposted the video on YouTube.

Actors don’t usually bring this kind of lawsuit because performers in Hollywood almost always sign release forms before working. These agreements grant many rights to the producers, hold them immune from various claims such as libel, and typically bar an actor from seeking injunctive relief to stop the distribution and exhibition of a film.

But Cris Armenta, the attorney for Garcia, maintains that her client never signed a release form.

Armenta adds that if any waiver is produced, she’s prepared to argue that it isn’t valid because it was procured by fraud.

Garcia’s case will be a challenging one to prove, but if she is able to assert a valid copyright, it could put YouTube and parent company Google in a sticky situation.

This one looks set to run, and run.

Which is what I’ve got to do.

See you soon.

Peace.

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