This week, Netflix chose to settle a pesky class action lawsuit alleging that it violated the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. You’re probably wondering what egregious violation got them in this hot water, but it’s actually barely a crime at all. I could go on about it, but it’d be much easier for you to just watch this news segment in which I was recently interviewed about this very topic.
I personally think this was a case of a violation in search of a victim, since no information was disclosed and thus no actual harm was caused to anyone. Obviously, Netflix just wanted to make it go away. Of the $9 million settlement, $2.25 million goes to the attorneys. The remainder is too small to distribute to class members individually, so the company agreed to send the money to an internet privacy-related charity under the cy press doctrine. There were no details about which charity will receive the funds, but here’s hoping it’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation.