Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Abuse of process: PragerU sues Google - again

Screen capture from one of PragerU's anti-Muslim videos
Image via YouTube
In October, 2017, Prager University sued Google and YouTube:
PragerU brings this lawsuit to stop Google/YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech solely because of PragerU’s political identity and viewpoint as a non-profit that espouses conservative views on current and historical events.

[LARGE drivelectomy]

This is a civil action arising under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, as subsequently set forth, and this court has jurisdiction…
Hopefully, the average fifth-grader could inform PragerU and its attorneys that the First Amendment prohibits only the government from censorship. Presumably a third-grader knows that Google isn't government.

Predictably, four months later (March 26, 2018) the judge dismissed this suit after consuming considerable resources that we all paid for.

US District Court Judge Lucy Haeran Koh ruled that neither Google nor YouTube were “state actors.” Duh.
Defendants are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website.
In sum, Plaintiff has not shown that Defendants have engaged in one of the “very few” public functions that were traditionally “exclusively reserved to the State.”
The judge's quotes in the second paragraph relate to language in established precedents.

PragerU appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They are going to lose. They know that they are going to lose.

Now they are suing in state court. I received notice of the new litigation with a link to a Donate to Prager University page.

Prager causes me to wonder. Do they really expect any court to side with them or is this a public relations stunt designed to attract “students” and donations? Taxpayers are paying court costs for what I think is a frivolous action. Donations are tax deductible (PragerU is a 501(c)3) which means that taxpayers subsidize those gifts.

According to the text of an email (emphasis per original):
It's clear that Google is not backing down. But don't worry, neither are we.

We are prepared to take our lawsuit against Google as far, and for as long, as we need to. In addition to our current federal appeal in the Ninth Circuit, we are now pursuing action against the tech giant in California state court.

YouTube calls itself a "public forum." It builds its ENTIRE business model on the claim that it is a "public forum: committed to fostering a community where everyone's voice can be heard." Yet, it defrauds the public by censoring speech it doesn't agree with.

Free speech, especially online, is one of the most important rights of our era, and we intend to fight for it.

We can't do this alone. Join us NOW and become a critical piece in this fight by donating today.
According to PragerU, YouTube has zapped 80 of its videos. That is their prerogative.

PragerU and its attorneys must know that this suit will also be dismissed. Private platforms can establish acceptable use standards and they are not subject to anyone else's approval. This is clearly abuse of process; a perversion of the judicial process to obtain a result unrelated to the litigation. Alphabet (parent company of Google and YouTube) is going to hit back hard. Their aim will be to deter anyone else from doing this.

In calendar year 2017, the Prager University Foundation reported total income of $12,239,056 and ended the year with assets of $8,382,392. The tax return (form 990) is not yet available on Guidestar. .

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