Impugnazione della chiusura dell’account Youtube per misleading informazioni sanitarie (sul Covid19): non ci sono speranze per questo tipo di azioni

Eric Goldman nel suo blog segnala Northern District della California S. Francisco Div. del 4 settrmbre 2023 Case 3:22-cv-05567-LB, Mercola v. Google etc., decide l’istanza di riapetura dell’account , poi corretta in mero accesso per il recupero dei dati, proposta da medico no-vax.

Decide e rigetta, naturalmente. Il modulo contrattuale preparato da Youtube le permette di far cessare senza problemi il rapporto quando c’è vioalazione delle clausole (terms of service o guidelines ) regolanti i contenuti

Nemmeno la buona fede può operare, dato che c’è violazione di un patto specifico

<<The covenant of good faith and fair dealing is implied in every contract and prevents one party from “unfairly frustrating the other party’s right to receive the benefits” of the contract. Guz v. Bechtel Nat’l Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 317, 349 (2000). To allege a claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, a plaintiff must allege the following elements: (1) the plaintiff and the defendant entered into a contract; (2) the plaintiff did all or substantially all of the things that the contract required her to do or she was excused from having to do; (3) all conditions required for the defendant’s performance had occurred; (4) the defendant unfairly interfered with the plaintiff’s right to receive the benefits of the contract; and (5) the defendant’s conduct harmed the plaintiff. Qingdao Tang-Buy Int’l Import & Export Co. v. Preferred Secured Agents, Inc., No. 15-cv-00624-LB, 2016 WL 6524396, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 3, 2016) (citing Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions § 325 (2011); Oculus Innovative Scis., Inc. v. Nofil Corp., No. C 06-01686 SI, 2007 WL 2600746, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 10, 2007)).
Again, YouTube’s actions were permitted by the Terms of Service. The implied-covenant claim fails for this reason>>.

L’ Executive Order del presidente Biden per promuovere la concorrenza nell’economia statunitense

Ieri 9 luglio l’amministrazione Biden ha emesso l’Executive Order (EO) on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.

E’ l’EO n. 14.036, come si legge in wikipedia .

GLi EO non sono fotne diretta di diritto erga omnes ma solo ordini alle varie amministrazioni (di valutare riforme normative per quanto in proprio potere).

Qui la scheda informativa approntata dall’Amministrazione.

Segnalo qui alcuni punti.

  • ridurre la diffusione dele clausole di non concorrenza imposte dalle aziende ai dipendenti, assai diffuse in USa;
  • quanto al digital world, questa la sintesi iniziale: << The American information technology sector has long been an engine of innovation and growth, but today a small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market entrants, to extract monopoly profits, and to gather intimate personal information that they can exploit for their own advantage. Too many small businesses across the economy depend on those platforms and a few online marketplaces for their survival. And too many local newspapers have shuttered or downsized, in part due to the Internet platforms’ dominance in advertising markets. … This order affirms that it is the policy of my Administration to enforce the antitrust laws to combat the excessive concentration of industry, the abuses of market power, and the harmful effects of monopoly and monopsony — especially as these issues arise in labor markets, agricultural markets, Internet platform industries, healthcare markets (including insurance, hospital, and prescription drug markets), repair markets, and United States markets directly affected by foreign cartel activity.
         It is also the policy of my Administration to enforce the antitrust laws to meet the challenges posed by new industries and technologies, including the rise of the dominant Internet platforms, especially as they stem from serial mergers, the acquisition of nascent competitors, the aggregation of data, unfair competition in attention markets, the surveillance of users, and the presence of network effects.
         Whereas decades of industry consolidation have often led to excessive market concentration, this order reaffirms that the United States retains the authority to challenge transactions whose previous consummation was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act (26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) (Sherman Act), the Clayton Antitrust Act (Public Law 63-212, 38 Stat. 730, 15 U.S.C. 12 et seq.) (Clayton Act), or other laws.  See 15 U.S.C. 18; Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911). >>
  • <internet service>: migliorare la situazione dei consumatori sotto alcuni specifici profili (qui di minor intersse): v. facts shet alla voce relativa;
  • <technology>: v. fact sheet relativa voce e spt. i profili antitrust, naturalmente:

A)  Big Tech platforms purchasing would-be competitors: Over the past ten years, the largest tech platforms have acquired hundreds of companies—including alleged “killer acquisitions” meant to shut down a potential competitive threat. Too often, federal agencies have not blocked, conditioned, or, in some cases, meaningfully examined these acquisitions.

Per cui il Presidente annuncia una policy <<of greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by “free” products, and the effect on user privacy>>.

B) Big Tech platforms gathering too much personal information:  Many of the large platforms’ business models have depended on the accumulation of extraordinarily amounts of sensitive personal information and related data.

Per questo il Presidente encourages the FTC to establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.

C) Big Tech platforms unfairly competing with small businesses:  The large platforms’ power gives them unfair opportunities to get a leg up on the small businesses that rely on them to reach customers. For example, companies that run dominant online retail marketplaces can see how small businesses’ products sell and then use the data to launch their own competing products. Because they run the platform, they can also display their own copycat products more prominently than the small businesses’ products..

Pertanto, il Presidente <encourages the FTC to establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces>.

I rimedi proposti perà o mancano o sono genericissimni. Si v. l’accurato commento del prof. Hovenkamp President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition: an Antitrust Analysis, in ssrn :

<<While the President’s Executive Order has been touted as a “Progressive” document, its content falls short of that. It does notsuggest thatthe antitrust enforcement agencies break up any firms, other than becoming more aggressive about mergers. Nor does it contain any general expression of concern about vertical integration as such or advocacy for removal of antitrust immunities.Consistent with antitrust policy generally, it repeatedly expresses concerns about market power,or the power to profit by charging high prices,butitnevercomplainsabout large firm size as such. Further, while it discusses market power repeatedly, it does not speak aboutdisplacing antitrusts current economicapproachwithconcerns aboutpolitical power or large firm size.To the contrary,it makes no reference to political powerat all,except for this one telling passagethat it quotesfrom a 1957 Supreme Court decision declaring that the Sherman Act:

rests on the premise that the unrestrained interaction of competitive forces will yield thebest allocation of our economic resources, the lowest prices, the highest quality and the greatest material progress, while at the same time providing an environment conducive to the preservation of our democratic political and social institutions.

The passage is important for what it does notsay about political power, even during a period ofgreat antitrust expansion. The goals areto achieve the bestallocation ofeconomicresources, lowest prices, highest quality, and greatest material progressbut all of this within an environment that is conducive to the preservation of our democratic institutions>>, pp. 3-4

Utente Youtube “demonetizzato” si lamenta in corte ma perde la causa

la divisione San Josè della district court californiana decide l’8 luglio 2021, Case 5:20-cv-04687-VKD , Marshall Daniels. c. Alphabet, la lite promossa da utente Youtube che aveva lamentato sia la rimozione di suoi video che la demonetizzaione delle donazioni già maturate tramite la funzione SuperChat , che permette di pagare per avere Chat in primo piano durante una esecuzione in diretta: <<The SuperChat function “allows third parties to donate monies to content creators such as Mr. Daniels during a live stream.” Id.¶ 13.Any viewer watching a YouTube livestream can purchase a “SuperChat,” which is a highlighted chat that remains pinned to the top of the chat stream for up to five hours. Id.19. According to Mr. Daniels, “Google represents to its users that ‘SuperChat and Super Stickers are ways to monetize your channel through the YouTube Partner Program.’” Id. ¶ 13. SuperChat revenue is separate and apart from YouTube Partner advertising revenue.” Id.¶ 13 n.4>>, p. 2.

Sulle funzioni SuperChat e Super Sticker v. la pagina guida di Youtube.

Notiamo che è data per scontata la qualifica contrattuale del rapporto tra utente e Youtube, anche se il primo  nulla deve monetariamente alla seconda.

In precedenza la corte aveva rigettato per quattro ragioni la domanda di Daniels e qui le ricorda:

<<First, with respect to Mr. Daniels’s allegation that defendants breached YouTube’s Terms of Service by failing to inform him when one of his videos was flagged or removed, the Court found that Mr. Daniels did not plead any facts suggesting that defendants were required to notify him of the specific reasons for the removal of his content or that YouTube’s alleged failure to provide advance notification was inconsistent with the highly discretionary policy described in the Terms of Service. SeeDkt. No. 31 at 14; Dkt. No. 182 at 4.

Second, with respect to Mr. Daniels’s allegation that defendants breached the Terms of Service by failing to provide an appeals process, the Court found that the Terms of Service did not guarantee an appeals process in any particular form, andeven if it did, Mr. Daniels had acknowledged that he engaged in an appeals process for both of his removed videos. Dkt. No. 31 at 14.

Third, with respect to Mr. Daniels’s allegation that defendants breached the Terms of Service by failing to permit Mr. Daniels to post his videos, the Court found that theexpress terms of theTerms of Service contradicted Mr. Daniels’s claim that the Terms of Service permit YouTube to remove content only in the event that that content violates the Community Guidelines. SeeDkt. No. 31 at 1415; Dkt. No. 182 at 4(“YouTube is under no obligation to host or serve Content” and “may remove or take down that Content in our discretion”).

Fourth, with respect to Mr. Daniels’s allegation that defendants failed to pay him based on SuperChat views and donations, the Court found that Mr. Daniels had failed to adequately allege apromise that was breached because theTerms of Service on which Mr. Danielsrelies do not address any kind of arrangement to pay users based on SuperChat views and donations. SeeDkt. No. 31 at 15. However, the Court observed that Mr. Daniels might be able to plead a proper breach of contract claim based on a different agreement, such as the YouTube Partner Program agreement.>>.

La domanda modificata contempla il denaro che Y. aveva promesso di girargli tramite le donazioni su SuperChat ma che non gli girò. Secondo l’attore viola il contratto dato che l’unica ragione per cui avrebbe potuto non girarglielo era la clausola sui sei mesi di inattività (six months  dormant), però non operante nel caso specifico.

La corte rigetta: <<Defendants argue, and Mr. Daniels concedes, that the Terms of Service do not contain any provisions regarding the SuperChat function.Seeid.¶ 20; Dkt. No. 33 at 5. Mr. Danielsrespondsthat Defendants’ posted SuperChat policies are incorporated into and/or governed by YouTube’s Terms of Service. Dkt.No. 34 at 34. Essentially, he suggests that the Terms of Service encompass any statements about the SuperChat function posted elsewhere by Defendants.In the FAC, Mr. Daniels alleges that“YouTube has promised the users of the SuperChatfunction that there is one situation in which the SuperChat may be demonetized: if the creator has been dormant for six months.” Dkt. No. 32 ¶20. In opposing dismissal, Mr. Daniels identifies the source of this alleged promiseas a document already of record in this proceeding: Exhibit 122to the declaration of Lauren White. Dkt. No. 1813.

That document, titled “YouTube Partner Program overview & eligibility,” includes the following statement: “We updated this article to provide more transparency thatYouTube may disable monetization for channels that haven’t uploaded a video or posted to the Communitytab for 6 months or more.” Id.

Mr. Daniels’s assertion that this statement constitutes a promise by Defendants to pay Mr. Daniels for SuperChat donations so long as his channel is not dormant from six months or more is simply implausible.3

The statement does not refer to the SuperChat function, nor does it contain a promise that the only circumstancein which monetization will be disabled is if a channel is dormant for six months.

Mr. Daniels describes no other basis for Defendants’ purported breach of a promise to pay him for SuperChat donations already earned.

In sum, Mr. Daniels’s FAC does not state a claim for breach of contract because,as before,he fails to identify any contractual obligation that Defendants breached>>

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog di Eric Goldman)