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Rodriguez v. Sony Computer Entm't Am., LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 4, 2015

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; SONY NETWORK ENTERTAINMENT INTERNATIONAL, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California February 6, 2015.

As Amended October 19, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. 4:11-cv-04084-PJH. Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Video Privacy Protection Act

The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action under the Video Privacy Protection Act.

The plaintiff alleged that two Sony corporations violated the Act by retaining his personally identifiable information beyond the Act's statutory limits and by disclosing his personal information between Sony entities. Agreeing with the Sixth and Seventh Circuits, the panel held that the Act does not provide a private right of action to enforce its retention requirements for video service providers. The panel held that the alleged inter-corporate disclosures were exempt from the Act's non-disclosure requirements.

Roger Perlstadt (argued), Edelson PC, Chicago, Illinois; Sean Reis, The Reis Law Firm, A.P.C., Rancho Santa Margarita, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Michael G. Rhodes (argued) and Ray A. Sardo, Cooley LLP, San Francisco, California; Lori R. Mason, Cooley LLP, Palo Alto, California; Michelle Doolin, Cooley LLP, San Diego, California, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: Richard C. Tallman and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judges, and Raymond J. Dearie, Senior District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Daniel Rodriguez (Rodriguez) challenges the district court's dismissal of his second amended complaint alleging that Appellees Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (Sony Computer) and Sony Network Entertainment (Sony Network) International LLC (collectively Sony) violated the Video Privacy Protection Act (the Act) by retaining Rodriguez's personally identifiable information (personal information) beyond the Act's statutory limits, and disclosing his personal information between Sony entities. Rodriguez contends that the district court erred in concluding that the Act does not provide a private right of action to enforce its retention requirements. Rodriguez also takes issue with the district court's conclusion that the intra-corporate disclosures were exempt from the Act's nondisclosure requirements. We affirm the district court's rulings.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Statutory Background

The Act was promulgated in 1988 after the Washington City Paper published Judge Robert Bork's video rental history during his failed Supreme Court confirmation proceedings. See Mollett v. Netflix, Inc., No. 12-17045, 795 F.3d 1062, 2015 WL 4591798, at *3 (9th Cir. July 31, 2015).

The Act restricts a video service provider's retention and disclosure of a consumer's personal information. See 18 U.S.C. § 2710(b). A video service provider " means any person, engaged in the business, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of rental, sale, or delivery of prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual materials, or any person or other entity to whom a disclosure is made . . ." Id. at § 2710(b)(1). Under the Act, a consumer is " any renter, purchaser, or subscriber of goods or services from a video tape service provider[.]" Id. at § 2710(a)(1). The Act defines " personally identifiable information" as including " information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider[.]" Id. at § 2710(a)(3). With respect to the retention of a consumer's personal information, the Act mandates that:

A person subject to this section shall destroy personally identifiable information as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the date the information is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected and there are no pending requests or orders for access to such information under subsection (b)(2) or (c)(2) or pursuant to a court order.

Id. at § 2710(e).

The Act also imposes liability for unlawful disclosure of a consumer's personal information:

(1) A video tape service provider who knowingly discloses, to any person, personally identifiable information concerning any consumer of such provider shall be liable to the aggrieved ...

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