The VPPA Does Not Apply to Movie Theaters

David Marmins and Jordyn Simon, AGG Litigation attorneys and members of the Retail industry team, authored an article titled “The VPPA Does Not Apply to Movie Theaters” published by the American Bar Association on May 7, 2024. The article addresses the resurgence of the Video Protection Privacy Act (“VPPA”) as plaintiffs’ lawyers have expanded the application of the 1988 statute, originally aimed at video rental stores, to many facets of modern technology. While they have seen success in applying the VPPA to streaming and online video platforms, movie theaters seem to be a bridge too far.

David and Jordyn provide an overview of plaintiffs’ allegations that movie theaters violate the VPPA by installing tracking pixels on their websites to track user activity and discuss three recent cases involving VPPA litigation.

“Whether the plaintiff is a ‘consumer’ within the meaning of the VPPA is the threshold issue to any claim under the VPPA,” David and Jordyn said. “However, it cannot be answered without determining whether the defendant movie theater is a ‘video tape service provider.’ The VPPA narrowly defines a ‘consumer’ as ‘any renter, purchaser, or subscriber of goods or services from a video tape service provider,’ 18 U.S.C. § 2710(a)(1), and a ‘video tape service provider’ as ‘any person, engaged in the business . . . of rental, sale, or delivery of prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual materials.’ Accordingly, if the defendant is not a ‘video tape service provider’ then the plaintiff is not a ‘consumer.’”

To read the full article, ABA members may click here.