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Hulu faces legal boohoo

Sue sued

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Hulu of illegally sharing users' viewing history with Facebook and business metrics company comScore. US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler rejected Hulu's argument that viewers needed to show actual injury to recover damages.

The case hinges on the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which was adopted after a newspaper published an article in 1987 about movies that Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork had rented. Hulu had argued that the law "was not adopted to impose multi-billion dollar liability on the transmission of anonymous data where no one suffers any actual injury."

Beeler said that the statute requires only injury in the form of a wrongful disclosure before damages might be available so the case will have to go ahead. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of Hulu users nationwide. It was brought by several people in California, Illinois and New York seeking damages of at least $2,500 per violation, plus punitive damages and other sums.

These plaintiffs claimed that Hulu let third parties engaged in marketing, advertising, and social networking track their video choices without permission.

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