Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak accused YouTube and its parent company Google, accusing them of not doing enough to remove content related to bitcoin scams that use their image. Wozniak is one of 18 plaintiffs seeking punitive damages and removal of all scam videos using his name and likeness.
The suit, filed with the San Mateo Superior Court in the US state of California, accuses YouTube and Google of violating Wozniak’s promotion right and misappropriating his name and likeness. It also accuses the search giant of helping and encouraging fraud, and negligence for failing to warn users. Google has yet to publish an official response to the lawsuit.
“YouTube has featured a steady stream of fraudulent videos and promotions that falsely use images and videos of plaintiff Steve Wozniak and other famous tech entrepreneurs, and who have defrauded YouTube of millions of dollars,” the lawsuit says. At the same time, it also praises Twitter for “acting fast” after the massive bitcoin scam earlier this week. “That same day, Twitter acted quickly and decisively to close these accounts and protect its users from the scam,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit further alleged that Google and YouTube did not remove these videos even when they were informed of the scam. With full knowledge of this scam, YouTube resisted removing the scam videos, allowing them to multiply. YouTube and Google went a step further to promote and benefit from these scams by providing targeted advertising to users who were more likely to suffer harm, “he says.