Anti-Vaxxer’s Lawsuit Over Channel Removal Fails–Mercola v. YouTube

Joseph Mercola ran a YouTube channel with 300k subscribers and 50M views. YouTube removed the channel for violating its medical misinformation policy (Mercola apparently peddled anti-vax views). Mercola sued YouTube for the usual things and got the usual outcomes.

Mercola initially claimed that he was suing over the content removal, but then he switched theories and claimed he just wanted access to his content. Why? Is it possible that he didn’t keep copies of his own videos? Or did he want the users’ comments for some reason? Or was this just a ploy to find any tenable legal theory against YouTube so it could be exploited in future litigation? No matter his legal theory or motivations, his case reaches the inevitable denouement.

With respect to the channel removal, the court says: “YouTube had no obligation to host or serve content…YouTube had the discretion to take down content that harmed its users….YouTube had the discretion to terminate channels without warning after a single case of severe abuse.” Cites to Daniels v. Alphabet, Song Fi v. Google.

With respect to accessing the content, the court says: “no provision of the Agreement provides a right to access that content under the circumstances here: termination for cause under the agreement. In a different context, there is an avenue to export content: if YouTube terminates a user’s access for service changes.” Cites to Lewis v. YouTube, King v. Facebook.

Lawsuits over content removals never succeed.

Case Citation: LLC v. Google LLC, 2023 WL 5680112 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 4, 2023). The complaint.