Plaintiffs File Appeal After YouTube Child-Focused Data Collection Lawsuit is Dismissed

On Monday, the Northern District of California issued their judgment that all counts are dismissed in a class action lawsuit where YouTube users alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations against Google LLC, Youtube LLC and various entertainment companies. As a response, the plaintiffs quickly filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

The plaintiffs alleged that the entertainment companies “intentionally created content aimed at children under thirteen so that Google could target and track young children for ad revenue.” Along with this, Google supposedly tracked user data “such as internet protocol addresses and device serial numbers” if the children clicked on the regular YouTube application instead of YouTube Kids.

Google argued that the plaintiffs’ claims were “plainly preempted” by COPPA, since the law “provides for a specific enforcement and remedial scheme led by the FTC.” On July 6, the Court ruled that COPPA protections apply to the plaintiffs since they are children, but that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was the proper enforcement authority and not the courts, agreeing with the defendants. The plaintiffs were given 30 days to amend their complaint or have their charges dismissed.

On August 2, the Court ruled that all claims are dismissed against the defendants since the plaintiffs declined to submit a fourth amended complaint. The following day, the plaintiffs filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and now they await a court hearing to determine if the Northern District of California’s ruling will be upheld.

The plaintiffs are represented by Pritzker Levine LLP, Silver Golub & Teitell LLP and Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP. Google is represented by Hogan Lovells US LLP.