Woz can’t sue YouTube over Bitcoin scam

Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak wanted to file a lawsuit against YouTube over scam videos that used his image to promote a bogus Bitcoin giveaway, but YouTube and its parent, Google LLC, are protected by the federal law — Section 230 — that shields internet platforms from responsibility for content posted by users, a California state judge said in a tentative ruling Wednesday.

Section 230 states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (47 U.S.C. § 230).

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (photo: Jonathan Alcorn)
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (photo: Jonathan Alcorn)
Robert Burnson for Bloomberg News:

Wozniak argued in his lawsuit that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shouldn’t apply because YouTube not only failed to remove the fraudulent videos, but “materially contributed” to the scam by selling targeted ads driving traffic to the videos and falsely verifying the YouTube channels that carried the videos.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sunil R. Kulkarnia said those factors weren’t enough to overcome the immunity provided by Section 230. The judge gave Wozniak 30 days to try to revise his complaint.

MacDailyNews Note: The scam videos touted Woz and other tech celebs, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, as the host of a live giveaway, with the promise that anyone who sent in Bitcoin would get double the number back.


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