YouTube has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed in April by payment startup Ripple, which accuses YouTube of allowing XRP giveaway scams on its network.
Ripple claims that YouTube is turning a blind eye to scammers and allows paid ads that encourage unwitting viewers to give away their XRP. Ripple, which owns more than half of the total supply of XRP, says the scams have harmed its brand.
In its response, YouTube cites Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which offers certain protections to websites that feature user-generated content. YouTube argues that it should not be held liable for third-party content on its website. It adds that it did not actively take part in the scams, and even took down the fraudulent videos that were brought to the company’s attention.
“Even though YouTube itself is a victim of the scam, Plaintiffs have brought this lawsuit asserting that YouTube violated their statutory and common law right to publicity, California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 (“UCL”), and their rights under federal trademark law, 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1). Plaintiffs have not filed any claims against the actual fraudsters.”
It appears YouTube’s legal battle may be just beginning. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is also suing the media giant and its parent company Google for allowing scammers to use his name in Bitcoin giveaway scams.
Wozniak and 17 other plaintiffs claim that YouTube is aware of the scams but did nothing to take down the videos.
“Wozniak has repeatedly informed YouTube that the scam videos are fraudulent and that Wozniak has not consented to these unauthorized and illegal uses of his name and likeness. Despite Wozniak’s efforts, YouTube has consistently failed or refused to timely intervene, or even to have a human being respond, to stop the scam videos and promotions and to stop selling ads to the scammers.”
According to the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the State of California on Tuesday, YouTube’s inaction caused irreparable harm to Wozniak’s reputation and defrauded users of millions of dollars.
The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages and want YouTube to take down the fraudulent videos and promotions.
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