Section 230(c)(2) Gets No Luv From the Courts–Song Fi v. Google

15 06 2015

This is one of several pending cases where a video poster sues YouTube for allegedly wrongful takedown of the video. I find these cases fascinating because I always wonder how there’s enough money at issue to justify litigation. Unfortunately, I have received first-hand legal threats for my public remarks about this case, so welcome to my self-censored/sanitized coverage of the case.
The video at issue is called “Luv Ya,” which the court describes as “a music video by the Rasta Rock Opera featuring the dramatized tale of a five-year-old boy (played by Plaintiff N.G.B.) and five-year-old girl who dress up and go to a restaurant for lunch on Valentine’s Day. As the children eat their lunch, a guitarist and a trumpet player (played by Plaintiff Joseph Brotherton, N.G.B.’s father and the president of both Song fi and Rasta Rock Opera) serenade them.” The court links to the video in the opinion [] but that link goes to a page (screenshotted above) that, on the morning of June 12, 2015, says “Site opens May 1st, 2015.” The video allegedly garnered 23,000 views on YouTube.

YouTube removed the video and relocated it to a private URL because, YouTube claimed, “it determined the view count for ‘Luv ya’ was inflated through automated means, and thus violated its Terms of Service.” On the video page, YouTube told the public that “[t]his video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.” The plaintiffs sued for “(1) libel, (2) breach of express contract, (3) breach of implied contract, (4) tortious interference, and (5) violations of the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”), D.C. Code Section 28-3904.” YouTube won a venue transfer to California based on its user agreement. See our prior blog coverage of that ruling.

Section 230(c)(2) Fails

YouTube wins anyway


Case citation: Song Fi, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 3:14-cv-05080-SC (N.D. Cal. June 10, 2015).

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