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YouTube not liable for Steve Wozniak bitcoin scam, court rules

Front Page Tech hacked and renamed NASA [News]
Front Page Tech hacked and renamed NASA [News] (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Steve Wozniak has lost his lawsuit against YouTube over bitcoin scams that used his image to promote fake giveaways.
  • Wozniak had claimed YouTube failed to remove content and materially contributed by actively promoting videos.
  • A judge has ruled YouTube isn't responsible for content posted by users.

Steve Wozniak has lost his lawsuit against YouTube over bitcoin scams that used his image to promote fake giveaways on the video platform.

From Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak lost his lawsuit against YouTube over videos that used his image to promote a bogus bitcoin giveaway. YouTube and its parent, Google LLC, are protected by the federal law that shields internet platforms from responsibility for content posted by users, a California state judge said in a tentative ruling Wednesday.

Wozniak tried to argue this law didn't apply because YouTube failed in not only removing the content from the platform, but by "materially contributing" to the issue. He alleged that YouTube sold targeted ads that brought traffic to the videos, and mistakenly verified the channels hosting the videos.

The suit isn't quite dead in the water, as the judge has given Wozniak 30 days to revise his complaint.

YouTube Bitcoin scams were major news last year, with Apple leaker Jon Prosser one of a number of channels compromized. An in-depth report by iMore from August 2020 reveals how malware sent to creators was used to compromise various channels. As the report and Woz's suit notes, channels played videos advertising cryptocurrency giveaways, using pictures of himself as well as Elon Musk to give off an air of legitimacy.

Wozniak first filed his suit back in July of 2020, but has a legal mountain to climb to convince a judge YouTube is in any way liable for what happened.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.