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Video Privacy Lawsuits on the Rise


Companies serving or embedding videos on their website should be aware of an increase in lawsuits under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). Enacted in 1988, the VPPA safeguards consumers' privacy concerning their video rental or purchase history. The law prohibits the disclosure of consumers' personally identifiable information related to their video-watching habits without explicit consent.

Though enacted when rental of physical videos was commonplace, plaintiff’s attorneys have sought to extend this law to online interactions. These demands and lawsuits – including class action lawsuits – seek hefty statutory damages of $2500 per violation. Claims tend to focus on videos which are hosted by or involve disclosures of information to third-party platforms. Consequently, companies that post videos online should be aware of the risks and take defensive action. Since 2022, over 100 class actions have been filed asserting VPPA claims.

Key defensive measures to consider if your company posts videos online:

  • Eliminate embedded or hosted videos and instead redirect users to third-party websites.
  • Do not embed or host videos from third-party websites.
  • Do not share analytics or engagement statistics regarding video viewing with any third parties.
  • Obtain explicit consent from consumers with respect to any video sharing or video tracking.
  • Enhance privacy notices to detail how video-related data will be handled.
  • If sharing information with third parties relating to video-watching, impose contractual terms that make clear that the third party will act only to provide services to your company (and will not use or retain video-viewing data for any other purpose).

If you believe your Company may face risks in this area, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team for a review.