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.