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PragerU's Censorship Lawsuit Against YouTube Tossed by Federal Judge

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 30, 2018 7:00 AM

Dennis Prager, the conservative talk show host, talks too much.

That's more or less what YouTube said when it shut down videos by Prager University, which is not a school but a podium for conservative views. Apparently offended, the "university" sued for violation of free speech and moved for a preliminary injunction.

A federal judge told Prager to shut up. Not really, but sort of. Here's what the court actually said in Prager University v. Google:

Motion Denied

In real-time, denying the motion was worse than telling Prager to shut up. Judge Lucy Koh said the plaintiff did not show it was "likely to succeed on the merits" because she also dismissed the complaint.

Prager had alleged YouTube censored its videos based on a "purely subjective perception of what they deem is politically correct and incorrect." For example, the plaintiff said one of its censored videos was called "Are 1 in 5 women in college raped?" But another clip of an author discussing the "college rape epidemic" was not blocked.

That didn't matter. The judge said YouTube is not a public forum for people to say anything they want.

"Instead, 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," she said.

Politics or Ideology

Google, which owns YouTube, was pleased with the decision. It "vindicates important legal principles that allow us to provide different choices and settings to users," a representative said.

"PragerU's videos weren't excluded from Restricted Mode because of politics or ideology, as we demonstrated in our filings," the spokesperson said.

The judge gave Prager thirty days to amend or else she would dismissed the case with prejudice. No new causes of actions or parties without the court's permission, either; in other words, let's move this case along.

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