YouTube’s legal team has argued the platform is immune from liability for cryptocurrency scams perpetrated as part of its video content or descriptions.
Attorneys for Ripple and CEO Brad Garlinghouse filed a lawsuit against YouTube in April in response to the platform’s failure to stop XRP scammers and impersonators. Ripple argued that the platform benefits from the actions of the scammers by profiting from paid ads.
But according to a July 21 update on Law360, lawyers for the video-sharing platform argued in a dismissal bid that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which generally protects platform publishers from liability over information provided by third parties — applied to the case.
YouTube’s legal team argued that its “unwitting verification” of scam channels does not change the fact the content was created by third parties — not the video-sharing platform itself. Lawyers for the site claim that because Ripple is not alleging YouTube “solicited, encouraged, or participated in the third-party fraudsters' scam,” the platform has no liability.
Impersonating CEO in crypto scam
Ripple’s lawsuit cites 305 instances of channels specifically impersonating Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. Some scammers took over unrelated but verified channels, and modified the layout and content to make it appear as though it was a legitimate crypto giveaway from a verified account.
According to YouTube’s legal team, “the right of publicity law protects individuals' names, images or voices from being used for commercial purposes without permission, but Ripple's suit alleges that a third-party hacker employed Garlinghouse's identity in its videos, not YouTube.”
Ripple not the only ones
Scammers have impersonated a number of figures in technology and finance in their attempts to con unwitting subscribers out of their crypto assets.
Cointelegraph reported in June that fake Bitcoin (BTC) giveaways from channels claiming to belong to SpaceX or Elon Musk scammed users out of $150,000. Most recently, scammers have attempted “double your money” cons targeted at users of VeChain VET tokens.