PragerU v. YouTube
America’s Biggest Issues: Election Integrity
Free speech is in jeopardy. Big Tech behemoths like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are putting their thumbs on the free speech scale, “restricting” conservative content they don’t like. PragerU is fighting back with a lawsuit against YouTube and its parent company, Google. The real winner (or loser) will be the American public. In this video, Attorney Eric George, who is representing PragerU, lays out our case. Be the jury.
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The most important lawsuit in America right now—and perhaps the free world—is Prager University v. YouTube.
You might consider this a grandiose statement, especially since I’m the lead attorney for PragerU. I assure you, it’s not.
That’s because this case is about the most fundamental freedom Americans have: freedom of speech, as enunciated in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
All our freedoms—the very concept of freedom—springs from this right. Lose it, and we’re no longer free—not as individuals, and not as a nation.
I’m not willing to accept that. PragerU doesn’t accept that. And you shouldn’t, either.
Okay, so how did we get into this situation? A little background.
PragerU is what is called a 501(c)(3)—a non-profit educational media company. It’s known primarily for its five-minute videos. In 2016, viewers began to notice that certain PragerU videos were no longer available. YouTube had placed them on its “restricted” list, which prevents the videos from playing on computers using content filters to screen out violence and pornography.
PragerU assumed this was simply a case of “bad algorithms.” But YouTube said no—each “restricted” video had been reviewed by a walking, talking human. The list included such diverse titles as “Are the Police Racist?” by Heather Mac Donald, “Israel’s Legal Founding” by Alan Dershowitz, and even a video on the Ten Commandments by Dennis Prager. YouTube deemed each one unsuitable for young people, treating these videos the same as they would, say, for ones containing pornography or excessive violence. Keep in mind, this is PragerU we’re talking about—as Main Street as you can get!
And that, ultimately, turns out to be the issue.
PragerU’s center-right content—many of their videos, by the way, have no political theme at all—offends YouTube’s sensibilities. In other words, the videos aren’t being restricted to protect young people from inappropriate content; they’re being restricted to protect young people from ideas YouTube disagrees with.
We didn’t want to sue. We tried to reach an accommodation. But when YouTube wouldn’t take the “offending” videos off their restricted list—there are now 100 on that list—we had no other option. YouTube was infringing on our right to free speech. We filed in federal court in late 2017, and thereafter in California state court.
Wait a second, you might say—YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a private company. Can’t they do anything they want?
The answer is: Yes…and no.
Yes, if they are a publisher. No, if they are a public forum.
So what’s the difference? This gets right to the nub of the matter.
For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/video/prageru-v-youtube