Google defeats lawsuit decrying animal abuse videos on YouTube

Alphabet Inc's Google is protected by a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - An animal rights group failed in a legal attempt to force Google to do more to keep videos of animal abuse off its YouTube streaming platform.

Alphabet Inc's Google is protected by a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that shields internet platforms from lawsuits based on content posted by their users, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni said in a tentative ruling on Wednesday (Aug 3).

The group, Lady Freethinker, sued last year, accusing Google of profiting from animal abuse videos by placing ads alongside of them. Some of the offensive videos cited by the group included pythons attacking puppies.

By allowing the videos on its platform, Google was violating federal law that bars depictions of animal cruelty, Lady Freethinker said. But the judge noted the group only listed claims involving violations of state and local laws, such as breach of contract and false advertising.

"Section 230 clearly states that 'no cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any state or local law that is inconsistent with this section,'" the judge wrote.

The case is Lady Freethinker v. Google LLC d/b/a YouTube, et al, 21CV390154, Santa Clara Superior Court (San Jose).

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