YouTube Can Delete Videos Without Repercussions

The Court Of Appeal of the State Of California, Sixth Appellate District, in an unpublished opinion by Justice Nathan Mihara, upheld the dismissal of a suit by Jan Lewis, who claimed that Youtube deprived her of “the acclaim that her channel received from fellow YouTube users” when it temporarily deleted the channel for what it said was a violation of its terms of service.

Justice Mihara cited a clause in the terms of service stating the company would bear no liability “whatsoever” for damages resulting from, among other things, “errors or omissions in any content or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of your use of and content posted, emailed, transmitted, or otherwise made available via the services, whether based on warranty, contract, tort, or any other legal theory.”

The court ruled that YouTube’s standard contract’s clause, limiting its potential liability to users who upload videos, is valid and enforceable. That clause, Mihara said, “encompassed Lewis’s claim that YouTube wrongfully failed to include her videos, the number of views of these videos, and the comments on the videos by other YouTube visitors on its Web site.”

Justice Mihara further held that Lewis failed to state a claim for specific performance in the form of an order requiring defendant to “restor[e] her channel to its condition prior to” the alleged breach.

Because her account has been reinstated, Justice Mihara said, Lewis is free to re-upload her videos. As for the other deleted material—the view counts and comments associated with the videos prior to their deletion—there is nothing in the terms of service that requires YouTube to display them.