Hulu Battles Class Action and Insurer

In 1987, President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court which sparked one of the most bitter nomination battles in modern history.  During this fight, a local Washington weekly published a story creating a psychological profile of the Judge based on records from his video store.  While Bork’s nomination was defeated 42-58, there is at least one lasting legacy - Video Privacy Protection Act(VPPA)  of 1988 (18 U.S.C. § 2710) which provides

 A video tape service provider who knowingly discloses, to any person, personally identifiable information concerning any consumer of such provider shall be liable to the aggrieved person , , ,   (A) actual damages but not less than liquidated damages in an amount of $2,500; (B) punitive damages; (C) reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and (D) such other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

Jump forward 24 years and Hulu is facing a class action alleging that it shared information on streaming videos watched by users to advertisers without prior consent in violation of the VPPA, which could trigger substantial statutory damages.

Naturally that is something business procure insurance for and Hulu does in fact have advertising coverage.  One of the benefits of such coverage is that you know who will sue you in the event you have a potentially substantial claim – as Hulu’s carrier recently did in contending the allegations of the complaint do not trigger any obligation under the policy.

More Info: Hulu Sued By Insurance Company Over Privacy Violation Claims, Hollywood Reporter; Consumers Argue Video Privacy Law Applies To Web Streams, Online Media Daily; Amended Class Action Complaint Below.