YouTube and its parent company Google have won the first round of a legal battle filed by a conservative talk show host, who sued the video sharing website for censoring his videos about abortion and other topics.
Dennis Prager filed a lawsuit against the internet giant Google in October, claiming it is wrongly censoring conservatives like himself on YouTube, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
His Prager University publishes a YouTube series that discusses political and social issues from a conservative perspective. One of the videos that he alleges YouTube censored was “The Most Important Question About Abortion,” which examines the morality of abortion, including whether an unborn baby should have rights.
Prager asked a judge for a preliminary injunction against YouTube that would lift the restricted status from his videos, according to the report. Instead, the judge threw out his lawsuit:
Google has won the dismissal of a lawsuit in California accusing YouTube of censoring conservative content.
In a decision late Monday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said a nonprofit run by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager failed to show that YouTube infringed its free speech rights by placing age restrictions on its content.
But the judge said Google and YouTube, both units of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), did not qualify as “state actors” subject to the First Amendment by creating a “public forum” for speech.
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“Defendants are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website,” Koh wrote. “Plaintiff has not shown that defendants have engaged in one of the very few public functions that were traditionally exclusively reserved to the state,” she added.
Koh gave Prager a chance to amend its lawsuit.
Essentially because Google and YouTube are private entities they have the right to censor pro-life videos.
In the legal papers Google filed with the court, it defended the censorship saying that denying access to the pro-life videos supposedly keeps YouTube safe.
In court papers, Google acknowledged that deciding which videos to restrict “may involve difficult, subjective judgment calls.”
But it maintained that it should not be held liable for trying to keep YouTube “safe and enjoyable for all users.”