Published by LawTechie - August 16, 2012 - LawTechie

Internet LawLast month I discussed the ongoing efforts of Netflix to revise update the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) so that it would allow streaming sites like Netflix to share users’ video preferences with those users’ social networking sites. It seems that Netflix’s streaming competitor Hulu has jumped the gun and got itself sued in the process:

In a blow to Hulu, a federal judge has ruled that the federal Video Privacy Protection Act applies to companies that stream video on the Web.

The decision was issued in a potential class-action lawsuit alleging that Hulu violated the federal video privacy law by sharing data about users’ video-watching history with ad networks, as well as companies engaged in analytics and market research. The VPPA prohibits providers of video tapes or “similar audiovisual material” from disclosing information about consumers’ movie-viewing history without their written permission. Hulu argued that streaming media wasn’t covered by that language.

Whether or not we agree that the VPPA is an archaic remnant of the pre-digital age, Netflix certainly seems like the more consumer-friendly of the two companies for following the proper channels before throwing itself into an all-out monetization of its users’ privacy.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.

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