Video Privacy Protection Act Class Action Lawsuits: What You Need to Know
Consumers who use video streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, are protected by the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which was enacted in 1988. The VPPA is a federal law that governs the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) that is collected by video rental services.
This law is meant to protect the privacy of individuals who rent or purchase videos by requiring companies to obtain the consumer’s consent before sharing their information. The law was enacted in response to a newspaper’s publication of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental history. It is also known as the Bork Bill.
The VPPA prohibits video rental or streaming services from disclosing PII without the written consent of the consumer. PII includes a customer’s name, address, telephone number, and any information that identifies the specific video materials that have been rented or streamed.
If a video rental or streaming service violates the VPPA, the consumer may file a lawsuit to recover damages with Shamis & Gentile, P.A.. Class action lawsuits are common in VPPA cases, as many consumers may be affected by the same privacy violation.
VPPA Class Action Lawsuit Examples
Over the years there have been several examples of class action lawsuits when it comes to the VPPA.
For instance, Netflix was on the receiving end of such a lawsuit back in 2011, where it was alleged that Netflix kept the viewing history of their customers for up to two years after their subscriptions had ended. Netflix eventually settled the lawsuit for $9 million and agreed to change its data retention policies.
Disney has since 2020 been involved in another class action lawsuit, due to people alleging that the company violated the VPPA, by tracking children’s activities on its Disney+ streaming service without parental consent. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
Advice for Consumers
If you are a consumer who uses video rental or streaming services, you would be well served by reading up on your privacy rights under the VPPA. There are also some different things you can do to protect your rights better.
- When signing up for video rental or streaming services, it might be a good idea to use a pseudonym or alternative address, as long as you are not yourself breaking any rules in doing so.
- Consider regularly checking your account activity, so you can be sure that your PII is not being disclosed without your consent.
- Contact Shamis & Gentile, P.A. to file a VPPA Claim today, or in order to learn more about how you can protect your privacy and your personal rights.
If you believe your data has been compromised, contact Shamis & Gentile, P.A. today for a free case review. You may be entitled to compensation.
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Who can file a class action lawsuit under the VPPA?
Any consumer who has had their PII disclosed by a video rental or streaming service in violation of the VPPA can file a lawsuit. Typically these lawsuits are filed as class actions on behalf of a group of consumers, all of whom have been affected by the same privacy violation.
What damages can be recovered in a VPPA class action lawsuit?
Generally there are a few different types of recoverable damages. Such as the cost of replacing a stolen identity, as well as punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for their misconduct. In addition, the VPPA also provides a framework for statutory damages of up to $2,500 per violation, as well as the attorneys’ fees. The total damages can add up quickly, particularly in cases involving large numbers of affected customers.
Can I join an existing VPPA class action lawsuit?
It depends on the specific lawsuit. In some lawsuits the various class members are automatically included in the lawsuit, and thus do not need to take any action to join. In other cases, individual class members will need to opt in to the lawsuit, by filing a claim or taking some other action.
How long do I have to file a VPPA class action lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for filing a VPPA class action lawsuit is two years from the date of the privacy violation. There can however be certain specific deadlines for various cases, so it is always important to consult with an attorney for an accurate understanding.
How do plaintiffs in a class action VPPA lawsuit prove that their privacy rights were violated?
Plaintiffs in a VPPA class action lawsuit typically need to show that the defendant disclosed their personally identifiable information (PII) without their written consent. This can be established through a variety of evidence, including email communications, website logs, and internal company documents.
Can a company be sued under the VPPA for accidentally disclosing customer information?
Yes. It is possible for a company to be sued under the VPPA, even if the disclosure was accidental. The law does not require intentional disclosure of PII for a violation to occur. This makes it important for businesses to take data privacy seriously at all times.
Can VPPA class actions be brought against companies outside of the United States?
Yes. It is possible for US citizens to bring VPPA class actions against companies outside of the United States, if the company does business in the United States and also is thought to be violating the law.
Can businesses be proactive in avoiding VPPA class action lawsuits?
Yes. There are a number of steps that businesses can take, in order to proactively avoid future VPPA class action lawsuits. This could be achieved by implementing strong privacy policies and practices, obtaining written consent from customers before disclosing their PII, and regularly training employees on privacy requirements and best practices.
Are there any proposed changes to the VPPA law?
Currently the VPPA law seems fairly settled. There are no scheduled or proposed changes to the law itself at the time of writing. But since the VPPA is a federal law, changes could be made in the future through the normal legislative process at any time.
How can I find an attorney to help with my VPPA class action lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits require a professional team of lawyers with experience in these cases. It is important to find a team that understands the nuances and details of VPPA class action lawsuits, but also are committed to fighting for the rights of you as a consumer.
Our team is ready to provide the necessary knowledge, experience and motivation, in order to build a strong case on your behalf and seek the compensation you deserve.