YouTube Defeats Claim Over Content Removal/Demonetization–Haocheng v. YouTube

Haocheng ran several monetized channels on YouTube. He claims that the Chinese Communist Party submitted takedown demands targeting his content, which YouTube ultimately honored. He sued YouTube claiming that the content removals breached YouTube’s contract. YouTube easily wins.

The plaintiff claims that YouTube removed his content without providing the promised notice and without adequate cause. However, no such obligations exist per the “clear and unambiguous” agreement terms:

The Agreement does not require that YouTube provide users notice before removing content or that YouTube otherwise have “cause” to do so. The Terms and Conditions state that, after removal, YouTube will notify the affected user “with the reason for our action” unless one of three exceptions not at issue here applies…In addition, the terms are clear that there need be no special “cause” for removal. Rather, YouTube expressly states “we reserve the right to remove or take down some or all of such Content in our discretion.” Accordingly, there is no right to prior notice before removal of content and no requirement of cause before removal under Plaintiff’s contract with YouTube. Moreover, to the extent Plaintiff contends YouTube breached some obligation that he be allowed to monetize his content, YouTube’s terms provide no entitlement that users can monetize content they previously posted.

YouTube complied with its obligations. It provided post-removal notice; “YouTube’s Terms and Conditions require it to do nothing further.” Cite to Daniels v. Alphabet. YouTube also did not obligate itself to issue strikes for non-copyright violations.

“Because all of YouTube’s actions were expressly authorized by the contract’s terms, Plaintiff has no cognizable claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” Cite to Lewis v. Google.

Add this lawsuit to the ever-growing stack of failed lawsuits over account terminations and content removals.

Case Citation: Haocheng v. YouTube, Inc., 2024 WL 1330116 (D. Conn. March 28, 2024). The complaint.