Monday, December 4, 2017
C.A. Orders Publication of Opinion Saying Action Against YouTube Lacked Merit
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Sixth District Court of Appeal on Friday ordered publication of its Nov. 2 opinion declaring that a songwriter/singer could not maintain an action against YouTube which, upon blocking access to her video containing a pro-life song, posted a notice implying that it contained improper matter.
The notice said: “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.” There was a link to a “Community Guideline Tips” page giving examples of forbidden matter including “Sex and Nudity,” “Shocking and Disgusting,” and “Dangerous Illegal Acts.”
Plaintiff Joyce Bartholomew claimed she was libeled because YouTube implied that her video came under one of those three categories or one of the others listed: “Hate Speech,” “Children,” Copyright,” “Privacy,” “Harassment,” “Impersonation,” or “Threats.”
The trial court sustained a demurrer without leave to amend. Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing wrote the opinion affirming a judgment of dismissal, which the opinion directed be entered nunc pro tunc.
“We believe an Internet user with a reasonable working knowledge of the how internet hyperlinks work would have understood that the list on the Community Guideline Tips page is in fact general—that no one particular offense could be reasonably read to apply to Bartholomew’s video and that the categories applied to the many thousands of videos that YouTube might have had to remove for any number of reasons. A contrary reading leads to two main problems for Bartholomew’s complaint: first, Bartholomew does not adequately allege any particular defamatory meaning or false statement of fact and second, she does not adequately allege that any defamatory statement actually concerned her (i.e., that she was defamed).”
The case is Bartholomew v. YouTube, H042775.
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