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PragerU files new lawsuit against Google in YouTube ‘censorship’ row

connectVideoYouTube accused of censorship Prager University videos

Radio host and PragerU founder Dennis Prager speaks out.

PragerU has filed a new lawsuit in its legal fight with Google to increase his accusations of online censorship against the tech giant and its YouTube video-sharing service.

Founded by radio host Dennis Prager, the conservative non-profit produces short videos that promote concepts such as limited government and the free market.

The suit was filed against Google and its subsidiary YouTube with the State of California on Tuesday, marking the latest development in PragerU ‘ s ongoing legal battle with the Mountain View, Calif.– based company.

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“This lawsuit is the ‘second round’ of the parties is a dispute about the question of whether Google/YouTube are above the law when it comes to regulating free speech and expression on YouTube, just because the Defendants are private entities, who is the owner and operator of YouTube for their own profit and commercial gain,” the suit claims.

Filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, the lawsuit claims that the tech heavyweights are “continuing to unlawfully restrict and limit speech on the global social media and video sharing platform known as YouTube.”

The suit alleges that Google and YouTube are violating California law in four ways. This includes unlawful repression of free speech in violation of the constitution and discriminate against PragerU based on political, religious or other discriminatory animus” in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, according to the filing. PragerU also claims that Google and YouTube are “illegal, deceptive and unfair businesses practices” in violation of the California Business and Professions Code, as well as the violation of the terms of use of YouTube.

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YouTube is “Limited Mode” function for the filter is used to block a part of the conservative non-profit content of the video-sharing site, according to PragerU, who also claims that the content falls foul of the YouTube advertising restrictions. “Google/YouTube use these filtering mechanisms as a pretext to justify to restrict and censor PragerU videos,” the court filing claims.

The lawsuit means that PragerU is now running two-track-action lawsuit filed against Google on both the state and federal court level.

The legal battle began in October 2017, when PragerU accused the companies of illegally restricting the non-profit content.

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PragerU in the first instance, submitted two federal claims against Google – one under the First Amendment, and the other for unfair competition and advertising under the Lanham Act. That lawsuit also included five claims under the law of California, including a free speech claim. In addition, PragerU filed state law claims for discrimination in the Unruh Act, unfair, unlawful and fraudulent practices, and breach of contract.

“We have appealed to the Ninth Circuit on the merits of the two federal law claims and state law claims were dismissed without prejudice,” explained lead PragerU lawyer Peter Brandy in a statement obtained by Fox News. “In other words, the court made very clear that the state law claims were dismissed in deference to state courts, the national court, which must decide on issues of their own laws and not the federal court. Today we have come full circle by the filing of a state is the law of action, as the judge requested that we do, in a state court to litigate those problems are there. So We are now going to be a two-track litigation.”

“We are very optimistic we will win our federal suit on the basis of our case is the First Amendment merits,” said PragerU CEO Marissa Streit in the statement. “But there is reason to believe that some of the claims are even stronger in California. Specific claims relating to the YouTube-breach of contract and consumer fraud. They claim that they are a public forum for free speech, but they behave instead as a publisher with editorial control. You can’t have everything.”

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YouTube denies the allegations of censorship. “The limited Mode is an optional feature that is used by a small part of the users to filter videos that may include sensitive or mature content,” said a YouTube spokesperson in a statement by e-mail to Fox News. “Give the visitors the choice to opt for a more limited experience is not censorship. In fact, this is exactly the kind of tool that Congress has encouraged online services to offer for parents and others who are interested in a more family-friendly online experience”

“PragerU the videos were not excluded from the Restricted Mode, because politics or ideology,” the spokesperson added. “A federal court has already ruled that PragerU the allegations are meritless, and we believe that the court will reach the same conclusion.”

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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