YouTube was ‘willfully blind’ in allowing hackers to impersonate Ripple Labs Inc. and its CEO to scam unsuspecting users, the company has claimed. In its latest filing, the cross border payment remittance company has accused the video sharing platform of participating in and benefitting from the scams.
Ripple sued YouTube in April this year, accusing it of federal trademark law violation for not stopping the hundreds of XRP scams on the platform. These scams used the images and names of the company and CEO Brad Garlinghouse, urging users to send them XRP tokens which would purportedly be doubled.
YouTube filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July, arguing that federal internet laws relieve sites like YouTube of responsibility for what third-parties choose to publish on their platforms.
In response, Ripple has accused YouTube of being ‘willfully blind’ and ‘feigning ignorance’ for allowing scammers to impersonate the San Francisco-based company. In its filing at the Northern District of California, Ripple claimed that the scammers initially used email phishing campaigns to hack YouTube accounts. However, the success of the scam depended on YouTube’s “complacency and unwillingness to take action,” according to Ripple.
YouTube had argued in its motion to dismiss that it’s not obligated to preemptively remove potentially infringing content from its platform. However, Ripple countered the claim, revealing that it had notified YouTube of the scams several times.
Additionally, YouTube had participated in the scam by verifying the hacked accounts and profiting from ad sales for the scammers’ videos.
“By actively participating in the scam and utterly failing to stop it, YouTube contributorily infringed Ripple’s trademarks, violated Mr. Garlinghouse’s right of publicity, and engaged in unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices under California law,” Ripple claimed in its filing, as reported by Law360.
YouTube also ignored the wide media coverage on the XRP scams on its platforms, Ripple added. Several media outlets started reporting about the scams in early 2019, the company stated in its filing. It also faulted YouTube’s interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which YouTube argued grants it immunity because it’s “an interactive computer service, not responsible for content published by third parties.”
This interpretation of the law is flawed as it would allow YouTube to take no action even if it’s fully aware of pervasive fraud on its platform and has the tools to stop it.
“That is not and should not be the law.”
YouTube is facing yet another lawsuit from Steve Wozniak for allegedly allowing digital currency giveaway scams on its platform that use his image. The Apple cofounder was one of 18 people who claimed YouTube has the power to stop the scams, but chooses not to.
Interestingly, while YouTube has been unable to stop the scams, it has removed several genuine digital currency-related videos from its platform.
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