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Conservative Vlogger Sues YouTube for Censorship

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Sometimes the line between the legal court and the court of public opinion is pretty thin.

Like the lawsuit by conservative talk show host, columnist, and vlogger Dennis Prager. His "Prager University" is suing YouTube for censorship even though his YouTube Channel has more than one million subscribers.

Is the lawsuit legit or a media grab? A real judge will decide, but you be the judge for now.

"Restricted" Videos

In Prager University v. Google, the plaintiff claims that YouTube unlawfully censors educational videos "solely because of PragerU's political identity and viewpoint." The complaint alleges that the company, owned by Google, uses filters to limit access or demonetize subjectively "inappropriate" content.

The lawsuit, filed by former California governor Pete Wilson, goes on to recite the impressive numbers of YouTube users, visitors, and videos. About 400 hours of video are uploaded to the service every hour, for example.

"Indeed more video content has been uploaded to Google/YouTube by public users than has been created by the major U.S. television networks in 30 years," the plaintiff says.

Before filing its suit, PragerU had previously complained about YouTube marking 10% of its videos as "restricted." From PragerU's perspective, that's a significant number of videos that cannot be monetized under YouTube's policy.

More Prager Views

Prager University says that YouTube has censored some of its videos for content because of its conservative identity. The plaintiff says the filtering is based on a "purely subjective perception of what theydeems (sic) politically correct of incorrect."

For example, Prager says that YouTube allows LGBTQ video bloggers to post videos without such restrictive filters. Apparently that's discrimination and a violation of the First Amendment, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint says YouTube is a public forum -- like a shopping center parking lot or public square -- because so many people use it. Perhaps anticipating a demurrer, the plaintiff argues the defendants "are wrong."

"Where, as in the case of Google/YouTube, a private party operates as one of the largest internet forums for speech and expression in the history of the world and such forum is accessible to and freely used by the public in general, there is nothing to distinguish it from any other forum except the fact that title to the property on which the forum exists belongs to a private corporation," the 43-page complaints says.

That's a lot of free speech for one lawsuit. More, or less, to come.

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