Google fought back against a ruling and this win protects the rights of everyone who makes films, television shows, web series, YouTube videos and every other performance that airs on the Internet.
The bottom line: No actor can claim copyright of a performance in a produced video.
As I understand the story, an actress was facing death threats and wanted the video banned from the Internet. At first, that is exactly what happening and the video disappeared.
But think about it. What if the initial ruling stayed in place?
Actors could potentially shut down a project forever by claiming copyright to a performance they didn’t like.
For hypothetical example: What if Sandra Bullock all of a sudden claimed copyright to her performance in the film Gravity and she wanted it banned when it was in the early stages of release, including all trailers on the Internet. She would have destroyed the original investment in the film and ruined careers. It could have been a potential nightmare trickle down effect and would result in a complete loss for the production company and the studio. Fortunately, Sandy would never do this because she’s a professional and she knows what she’s getting into from the beginning.
Whether or not the actress’ words were dubbed with alternative lines or not doesn’t really matter to the court.
Remember the case of actress Andie MacDowell having her lines dubbed over by actress Glenn Close for the film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan. People laughed at MacDowell, but she didn’t file a copyright claim for her performance and she didn’t stop the film from going to the box office or portions being played on the Internet.
This is a landmark case protecting all film, TV and video productions, big and small.