Cooley advised Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Network Entertainment International on the dismissal of a nationwide class action lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California regarding an alleged violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).
The suit, which began in 2011, alleged that the companies violated the VPPA by retaining personally identifiable information (PII) longer than permissible and disclosing the PII between the entities. In 2012, the Cooley team successfully obtained dismissal of the complaint and amended complaints in the lower court on the grounds that the VPPA does not provide a private cause of action for the retention claim, and that the VPPA permits disclosure between related corporate entities during the ordinary course of business.
The decision was appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where in a case of first impression, the Court held that no private right of action exists under the VPPA for unlawful retention. The published opinion also affirmed the district court's holding that plaintiff had failed to state an unlawful disclosure claim against the two entities – a complete win for SCEA and SNEI.