Prager Wants To Take Battle With Google To Higher Court

Prager University will ask an appellate court to revive a lawsuit accusing YouTube of discriminating against conservative clips.

The company, which offers video clips, disclosed its plans in papers filed this week with U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California. She recently dismissed Prager's lawsuit, ruling that Google has the right to decide how to treat content on its platform.

Koh gave Prager up to 30 days to rework its complaint and bring it again, but the online company says it wants to instead appeal the dismissal order to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The legal battle dates to last year, when Prager alleged that Google wrongly applied its "restricted mode" filter to the school's videos, effectively making them unavailable to some students and library patrons.

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Prager also alleged that Google "demonetized" some conservative videos, like a clip that posed the question "Pakistan: Can Sharia and Freedom Coexist?"

Prager argued that its First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being violated by Google.

Koh rejected Prager's contention. She said in her ruling that Google and YouTube are private companies and therefore don't need to follow the same rules as the government, which generally isn't allowed to censor speech.

Judges have ruled in other cases that companies like Google and Facebook are free to decide how to treat content on their platforms. Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to revive a lawsuit against Facebook by the group Sikhs for Justice. That organization alleged that its content was blocked by Facebook in India.

In another example, a federal judge in Florida recently sided with Google in a lawsuit brought by search engine optimization company e-ventures Worldwide, which claimed its sites were wrongly removed from search results. The judge ruled in that case that Google has a free speech right to decide which search results to display.

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