Publication Date



Video-streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+
dominate the current media landscape. This Note explains why
current laws likely cannot effectively prevent these streaming
services from collecting and sharing users’ private information.
The Video Privacy Protection Act (the VPPA) contains language
that has baffled courts when applying its text to streaming
services, resulting in multiple circuit splits. The Children’s
Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has a clearer
application to streaming services, yet its enforcement has
resulted in small settlements with companies that have been
charged with collecting children’s private information. Both the
VPPA and COPPA need to be updated to address modern
privacy concerns.
This Note analyzes the historic 2019 settlement between
YouTube and the Federal Trade Commission over YouTube’s
alleged COPPA violations. When placed in context, this
settlement, while historic, remains paltry due to YouTube’s
revenue and the extent of the alleged wrongdoing. This
illustrates the problems with COPPA enforcement generally.
While the VPPA could potentially restrict streaming services’
behavior, case law interpreting that legislation severely limits
its applicability. This Note concludes by suggesting changes to
be made to the VPPA for effective use against streaming services
and how COPPA settlement guidelines could be updated to
result in more reasonable settlements for any future issues with
streaming services.