Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak triumphs in court against YouTube in Bitcoin scam case

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak triumphs in court against YouTube in Bitcoin scam case - African News - News

Steve Wozniak Secures Legal Victory Against YouTube in Appeals Court over Manipulated Bitcoin Scam Videos

In a significant legal development, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has secured a victory in an appeals court against YouTube regarding doctored videos that featured his likeness in a Bitcoin scam back in 2020. According to a report by Bloomberg, the San Jose appeals court reversed a lower court’s decision that had previously exonerated YouTube from any wrongdoing.

Background of the Case

The case centers around manipulated videos that appeared to show Wozniak promoting a Bitcoin giveaway scam, deceiving viewers into sending Bitcoin with the false promise of receiving double the amount in return. The lawsuit targeted YouTube and its parent company, Google, on behalf of Wozniak and 17 other notable figures, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Michael Dell. They claimed that YouTube’s platform was used to disseminate these fraudulent videos, resulting in both reputational damage and consumers being scammed.

Challenging YouTube’s Liability Shield

The appeal court identified a critical issue, with high-profile YouTube channels being hijacked to promote these scams. The court highlighted that Google and YouTube contributed to the scam’s credibility by verifying hijacked channels and failing to remove verification badges once the scam videos were posted. In some cases, verification badges were awarded during ongoing scam operations.

Implications of the Ruling

This court decision marks a pivotal moment as it suggests that YouTube’s actions, or lack thereof, in dealing with the scam videos could potentially strip it of the immunity typically granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Wozniak’s legal representative, Joe Cotchett, emphasized that the verdict underlines the responsibility social media platforms have to manage their content more diligently and not hide behind Section 230 as an all-encompassing defense.

Setting a Precedent

The ruling allows Wozniak to proceed with his lawsuit against YouTube. This precedent could influence how video streaming platforms are held accountable for the content shared and promoted on their sites, particularly when it comes to fraudulent schemes exploiting public figures’ likenesses.


This legal victory for Steve Wozniak is a significant step towards redefining the responsibilities of video streaming platforms in handling user-generated content and potential fraudulent schemes. As this case progresses, it is essential to monitor its impact on the broader context of contact content management and liability implications.