While most streaming services will be able to enjoy their holidays with the only concern being a potential influx of users, Hulu will be wary of a likely court case now hanging over them, after they reportedly failed in convincing a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses them of illegally sharing view history of users with third-party companies.
The American platform are said to have shared more information than would be deemed acceptable with names such as social networking site Facebook and ‘business metrics company’ comScore, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco (USA) claimed that Hulu’s argument (in that affected viewers would be required to show them actual ‘injury’ in order to recover damage payments from Hulu under a 1988 federal law precedent (VPPA) regarding video renter privacy) was an invalid one.
While Hulu had suggested “…[the law] was not adopted to impose multi-billion dollar liability on the transmission of anonymous data where no one suffers any actual injury,” Beeler, replied with the conclusion that “…the statute requires only injury in the form of a wrongful disclosure [before damages can be made available].“
Hulu are yet to comment on the issue, which has taken the status of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of ‘Hulu users nationwide’, in particular a small group from the states of California, Illinois and New York that seek damages of ‘at least $2,500 per person’ alongside punitive damages and other amounts, under the claim that Hulu have allowed third parties to ‘engage in marketing, advertising, and social networking’ via their tracked video choices without their consent.
While Hulu have also provided separate arguments that it is ‘too hard to certify’ any ’class of plaintiffs’ due to users employing fake names, but it appears as though they are not in a strong position going into the next dismissal heading on 6 February 2014. For now, though, there is no earthly way of knowing which way this case will be going…